Article  |   October 2011
Visual Cues and Listening Effort: Individual Variability
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Erin M. Picou
    Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN
  • Benjamin W. Y. Hornsby
    Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN
  • Correspondence to Todd A. Ricketts: todd.a.ricketts@vanderbilt.edu
  • Editor: Robert Schlauch
    Editor: Robert Schlauch×
  • Associate Editor: Jean-Pierre Gagne
    Associate Editor: Jean-Pierre Gagne×
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Audiologic / Aural Rehabilitation / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Hearing
Article   |   October 2011
Visual Cues and Listening Effort: Individual Variability
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research October 2011, Vol.54, 1416-1430. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0154)
History: Accepted 02 Feb 2011 , Received 07 Jun 2010 , Revised 27 Oct 2010
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research October 2011, Vol.54, 1416-1430. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0154)
History: Accepted 02 Feb 2011 , Received 07 Jun 2010 , Revised 27 Oct 2010

Purpose: To investigate the effect of visual cues on listening effort as well as whether predictive variables such as working memory capacity (WMC) and lipreading ability affect the magnitude of listening effort.

Method: Twenty participants with normal hearing were tested using a paired-associates recall task in 2 conditions (quiet and noise) and 2 presentation modalities (audio only [AO] and auditory–visual [AV]). Signal-to-noise ratios were adjusted to provide matched speech recognition across audio-only and AV noise conditions. Also measured were subjective perceptions of listening effort and 2 predictive variables: (a) lipreading ability and (b) WMC.

Results: Objective and subjective results indicated that listening effort increased in the presence of noise, but on average the addition of visual cues did not significantly affect the magnitude of listening effort. Although there was substantial individual variability, on average participants who were better lipreaders or had larger WMCs demonstrated reduced listening effort in noise in AV conditions.

Conclusions: Overall, the results support the hypothesis that integrating auditory and visual cues requires cognitive resources in some participants. The data indicate that low lipreading ability or low WMC is associated with relatively effortful integration of auditory and visual information in noise.

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