Auditory and nonauditory factors affecting speech reception in noise by older listeners

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Speech reception thresholds (SRTs) for sentences were determined in stationary and modulated background noise for two age-matched groups of normal-hearing (N=13) and hearing-impaired listeners (N=21). Correlations were studied between the SRT in noise and measures of auditory and nonauditory performance, after which stepwise regression analyses were performed within both groups separately. Auditory measures included the pure-tone audiogram and tests of spectral and temporal acuity. Nonauditory factors were assessed by measuring the text reception threshold (TRT), a visual analogue of the SRT, in which partially masked sentences were adaptively presented. Results indicate that, for the normal-hearing group, the variance in speech reception is mainly associated with nonauditory factors, both in stationary and in modulated noise. For the hearing-impaired group, speech reception in stationary noise is mainly related to the audiogram, even when audibility effects are accounted for. In modulated noise, both auditory (temporal acuity) and nonauditory factors (TRT) contribute to explaining interindividual differences in speech reception. Age was not a significant factor in the results. It is concluded that, under some conditions, nonauditory factors are relevant for the perception of speech in noise. Further evaluation of nonauditory factors might enable adapting the expectations from auditory rehabilitation in clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2362-2375
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2007

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