Measures of Working Memory, Sequence Learning, and Speech Recognition in the Elderly This study describes the measurement of 2 cognitive functions, working-memory capacity and sequence learning, in 2 groups of listeners: young adults with normal hearing and elderly adults with impaired hearing. The measurement of these 2 cognitive abilities with a unique, nonverbal technique capable of auditory, visual, and auditory-visual stimulation, patterned ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2005
Measures of Working Memory, Sequence Learning, and Speech Recognition in the Elderly
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Larry E. Humes
    Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Shari S. Floyd
    Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Contact author: Larry E. Humes, Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405-7002.
    Contact author: Larry E. Humes, Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405-7002.×
  • Corresponding author: E-mail: humes@indiana.edu
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2005
Measures of Working Memory, Sequence Learning, and Speech Recognition in the Elderly
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2005, Vol. 48, 224-235. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/016)
History: Received September 4, 2003 , Accepted May 19, 2004
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2005, Vol. 48, 224-235. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/016)
History: Received September 4, 2003; Accepted May 19, 2004
Web of Science® Times Cited: 33

This study describes the measurement of 2 cognitive functions, working-memory capacity and sequence learning, in 2 groups of listeners: young adults with normal hearing and elderly adults with impaired hearing. The measurement of these 2 cognitive abilities with a unique, nonverbal technique capable of auditory, visual, and auditory-visual stimulation, patterned after the Simon memory game, is described. The use of simple, easily understood items in the test sequences enabled the measurement of these cognitive abilities in older listeners with no apparent impact of age-related hearing loss on the cognitive measures. Age-related cognitive deficits were observed for all 3 modes of stimulation and in both working-memory capacity and sequence-learning ability. The age-related deficits appeared to be greatest, however, for the sequence-learning task. Although it was hypothesized that there might be an association between an individual's performance on these cognitive tasks and his or her performance on various measures of speech recognition, such an association generally was not observed.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported in part by National Institutes of Health Grant R01 AG08293 to Larry E. Humes. The authors would like to thank Professor David Pisoni for making the Simon apparatus and software available for use in this study and Luis Hernandez for his technical assistance.
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