Cortical Mechanisms of Speech Perception in Noise Purpose The present study examines the brain basis of listening to spoken words in noise, which is a ubiquitous characteristic of communication, with the focus on the dorsal auditory pathway. Method English-speaking young adults identified single words in 3 listening conditions while their hemodynamic response was measured using ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2008
Cortical Mechanisms of Speech Perception in Noise
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Patrick C. M. Wong
    Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Ajith K. Uppunda
    Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Todd B. Parrish
    Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Sumitrajit Dhar
    Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Contact author: Patrick C. M. Wong, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, 2240 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208. E-mail: pwong@northwestern.edu.
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2008
Cortical Mechanisms of Speech Perception in Noise
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2008, Vol. 51, 1026-1041. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/075)
History: Received June 7, 2007 , Accepted December 20, 2007
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2008, Vol. 51, 1026-1041. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/075)
History: Received June 7, 2007; Accepted December 20, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 58

Purpose The present study examines the brain basis of listening to spoken words in noise, which is a ubiquitous characteristic of communication, with the focus on the dorsal auditory pathway.

Method English-speaking young adults identified single words in 3 listening conditions while their hemodynamic response was measured using fMRI: speech in quiet, speech in moderately loud noise (signal-to-noise ratio [SNR] 20 dB), and in loud noise (SNR −5 dB).

Results Behaviorally, participants’ performance (both accuracy and reaction time) did not differ between the quiet and SNR 20 dB condition, whereas they were less accurate and responded slower in the SNR −5 dB condition compared with the other 2 conditions. In the superior temporal gyrus (STG), both left and right auditory cortex showed increased activation in the noise conditions relative to quiet, including the middle portion of STG (mSTG). Although the right posterior STG (pSTG) showed similar activation for the 2 noise conditions, the left pSTG showed increased activation in the SNR −5 dB condition relative to the SNR 20 dB condition.

Conclusion We found cortical task-independent and noise-dependent effects concerning speech perception in noise involving bilateral mSTG and left pSTG. These results likely reflect demands in acoustic analysis, auditory–motor integration, and phonological memory, as well as auditory attention.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by Northwestern University and by the National Institutes of Health Grants HD051827 and DC007468, awarded to the first and third author, and National Institutes of Health Grant DC005692, awarded to the fourth author. We thank Diane Arcuri, Tasha Dees, Geshri Gunasekera, Kiara Lee, Nondas Leloudas, and Tyler Perrachione for their assistance in this research.
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