Audiological Assessment of Word Recognition Skills in Persons With Aphasia Purpose The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of persons with aphasia, with and without hearing loss, to complete a commonly used open-set word recognition test that requires a verbal response. Furthermore, phonotactic probabilities and neighborhood densities of word recognition errors were assessed to explore potential underlying ... Clinical Focus
Clinical Focus  |   March 08, 2018
Audiological Assessment of Word Recognition Skills in Persons With Aphasia
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Min Zhang
    Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, PA
    Department of Communication Science and Disorders, University of Pittsburgh, PA
  • Sheila R. Pratt
    Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, PA
    Department of Communication Science and Disorders, University of Pittsburgh, PA
  • Patrick J. Doyle
    Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, PA
    Department of Communication Science and Disorders, University of Pittsburgh, PA
  • Malcolm R. McNeil
    Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, PA
    Department of Communication Science and Disorders, University of Pittsburgh, PA
  • John D. Durrant
    Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, PA
    Department of Communication Science and Disorders, University of Pittsburgh, PA
  • Jillyn Roxberg
    Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, PA
  • Amanda Ortmann
    Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, PA
    Department of Communication Science and Disorders, University of Pittsburgh, PA
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Sheila R. Pratt: spratt@pitt.edu
  • Jillyn Roxberg is now at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, PA.
    Jillyn Roxberg is now at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, PA.×
  • Amanda J. Ortmann is now at Washington University, St. Louis, MO.
    Amanda J. Ortmann is now at Washington University, St. Louis, MO.×
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sumitrajit Dhar
    Editor-in-Chief: Sumitrajit Dhar×
  • Editor: Lauren Calandruccio
    Editor: Lauren Calandruccio×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Language Disorders / Aphasia / Clinical Focus
Clinical Focus   |   March 08, 2018
Audiological Assessment of Word Recognition Skills in Persons With Aphasia
American Journal of Audiology, March 2018, Vol. 27, 1-18. doi:10.1044/2017_AJA-17-0041
History: Received April 17, 2017 , Revised June 23, 2017 , Accepted August 1, 2017
 
American Journal of Audiology, March 2018, Vol. 27, 1-18. doi:10.1044/2017_AJA-17-0041
History: Received April 17, 2017; Revised June 23, 2017; Accepted August 1, 2017

Purpose The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of persons with aphasia, with and without hearing loss, to complete a commonly used open-set word recognition test that requires a verbal response. Furthermore, phonotactic probabilities and neighborhood densities of word recognition errors were assessed to explore potential underlying linguistic complexities that might differentially influence performance among groups.

Method Four groups of adult participants were tested: participants with no brain injury with normal hearing, participants with no brain injury with hearing loss, participants with brain injury with aphasia and normal hearing, and participants with brain injury with aphasia and hearing loss. The Northwestern University Auditory Test No. 6 (NU-6; Tillman & Carhart, 1966) was administered. Those participants who were unable to respond orally (repeating words as heard) were assessed with the Picture Identification Task (Wilson & Antablin, 1980), permitting a picture-pointing response instead. Error patterns from the NU-6 were assessed to determine whether phonotactic probability influenced performance.

Results All participants with no brain injury and 72.7% of the participants with aphasia (24 out of 33) completed the NU-6. Furthermore, all participants who were unable to complete the NU-6 were able to complete the Picture Identification Task. There were significant group differences on NU-6 performance. The 2 groups with normal hearing had significantly higher scores than the 2 groups with hearing loss, but the 2 groups with normal hearing and the 2 groups with hearing loss did not differ from one another, implying that their performance was largely determined by hearing loss rather than by brain injury or aphasia. The neighborhood density, but not phonotactic probabilities, of the participants' errors differed across groups with and without aphasia.

Conclusions Because the vast majority of the participants with aphasia examined could be tested readily using an instrument such as the NU-6, clinicians should not be reticent to use this test if patients are able to repeat single words, but routine use of alternative tests is encouraged for populations of people with brain injuries.

Acknowledgments
This material is based on work supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Office of Research and Development, Rehabilitation Research and Development Service (Award C3118R to Patrick J. Doyle and Sheila R. Pratt), and resources and facilities provided by the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center in the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. However, the contents do not represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the U.S. Government. The authors thank Brianna Nelms, MaryBeth Ventura, Tepanta Fossett, Elizabeth Haley, and Cynthia Eberwein for their efforts on this project.
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