Temporal Factors and Speech Recognition Performance in Young and Elderly Listeners This study investigated factors that contribute to deficits of elderly listeners in recognizing speech that is degraded by temporal waveform distortion. Young and elderly listeners with normal hearing sensitivity and with mild-to-moderate, sloping sensorineural hearing losses were evaluated. Low-predictability (LP) sentences from the Revised Speech Perception in Noise test (R-SPIN) ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1993
Temporal Factors and Speech Recognition Performance in Young and Elderly Listeners
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sandra Gordon-Salant
    University of Maryland College Park
  • Peter J. Fitzgibbons
    Gallaudet University Washington, DC
  • Contact author: Sandra Gordon-Salant, University of Maryland at College Park, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, College Park, MD 20742.
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1993
Temporal Factors and Speech Recognition Performance in Young and Elderly Listeners
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1993, Vol. 36, 1276-1285. doi:10.1044/jshr.3606.1276
History: Received January 7, 1993 , Accepted May 19, 1993
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1993, Vol. 36, 1276-1285. doi:10.1044/jshr.3606.1276
History: Received January 7, 1993; Accepted May 19, 1993

This study investigated factors that contribute to deficits of elderly listeners in recognizing speech that is degraded by temporal waveform distortion. Young and elderly listeners with normal hearing sensitivity and with mild-to-moderate, sloping sensorineural hearing losses were evaluated. Low-predictability (LP) sentences from the Revised Speech Perception in Noise test (R-SPIN) (Bilger, Nuetzel, Rabinowitz, & Rzeczkowski, 1984) were presented to subjects in undistorted form and in three forms of distortion: time compression, reverberation, and interruption. Percent-correct recognition scores indicated that age and hearing impairment contributed independently to deficits in recognizing all forms of temporally distorted speech. In addition, subjects’ auditory temporal processing abilities were assessed on duration discrimination and gap detection tasks. Canonical correlation procedures showed that some of the suprathreshold temporal processing measures, especially gap duration discrimination, contributed to the ability to recognize reverberant speech. The overall conclusion is that age-related factors other than peripheral hearing loss contribute to diminished speech recognition performance of elderly listeners.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (R01-AG09191). The authors are grateful to Timothy Bunnell of the Alfred I. Dupont Institute, Jont Allen of Bell Laboratories, and James Whitney (formerly of the University of Maryland) for providing the software for the time-compression, reverberation, and interruption simulations, respectively. We also thank Robert Bilger for supplying the original, unmodified R-SPIN tapes used in the experiments. Finally, we express our appreciation to Linda Carr-Kraft, Susan Phillips, and Sarah Hargus for their assistance in the stimulus preparation, data collection, and data analysis stages of the experiment.
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