Frequency and Temporal Resolution in Elderly Listeners With Good and Poor Word Recognition There is a subgroup of elderly listeners with hearing loss who can be characterized by exceptionally poor speech understanding. This study examined the hypothesis that the poor speech-understanding performance of some elderly listeners is associated with disproportionate deficits in temporal resolution and frequency resolution, especially for complex signals. Temporal resolution, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2000
Frequency and Temporal Resolution in Elderly Listeners With Good and Poor Word Recognition
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Susan L. Phillips
    University of Maryland College Park
  • Sandra Gordon-Salant
    University of Maryland College Park
  • Peter J. Fitzgibbons
    Gallaudet University Washington, DC
  • Grace Yeni-Komshian
    University of Maryland College Park
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: slphilli@uncg.edu
  • Currently affiliated with University North Carolina Greensboro
    Currently affiliated with University North Carolina Greensboro×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2000
Frequency and Temporal Resolution in Elderly Listeners With Good and Poor Word Recognition
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2000, Vol. 43, 217-228. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4301.217
History: Received June 8, 1998 , Accepted June 29, 1999
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2000, Vol. 43, 217-228. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4301.217
History: Received June 8, 1998; Accepted June 29, 1999

There is a subgroup of elderly listeners with hearing loss who can be characterized by exceptionally poor speech understanding. This study examined the hypothesis that the poor speech-understanding performance of some elderly listeners is associated with disproportionate deficits in temporal resolution and frequency resolution, especially for complex signals. Temporal resolution, as measured by gap detection, and frequency resolution, as measured by the critical ratio, were examined in older listeners with normal hearing, older listeners with hearing loss and good speech-recognition performance, and older listeners with hearing loss and poor speech-recognition performance. Listener performance was evaluated for simple and complex stimuli and for tasks of added complexity. In addition, syllable recognition was assessed in quiet and noise. The principal findings were that older listeners with hearing loss and poor word-recognition performance did not perform differently from older listeners with hearing loss and good word recognition on the temporal resolution measures nor on the spectral resolution measures for relatively simple stimuli. However, frequency resolution was compromised for listeners with poor word-recognition abilities when targets were presented in the context of complex signals. Group differences observed for syllable recognition in quiet were eliminated in the noise condition. Taken together, the findings support the hypothesis that unusual deficits in word-recognition performance among elderly listeners were associated with poor spectral resolution for complex signals.

Acknowledgments
Preparation of this article was supported in part by Grant No. R01-AG09191 from the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health. Data were collected at the University of Maryland, College Park. We would like to thank Willard Larkin for helpful comments and support.
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