Children's Auditory Working Memory Performance in Degraded Listening Conditions Purpose The objectives of this study were to determine (a) whether school-age children with typical hearing demonstrate poorer auditory working memory performance in multitalker babble at degraded signal-to-noise ratios than in quiet; and (b) whether the amount of cognitive demand of the task contributed to differences in performance in noise. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 2014
Children's Auditory Working Memory Performance in Degraded Listening Conditions
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Homira Osman
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Jessica R. Sullivan
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Homira Osman: osmanh@u.washington.edu
  • Editor: Craig Champlin
    Editor: Craig Champlin×
  • © American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 2014
Children's Auditory Working Memory Performance in Degraded Listening Conditions
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2014, Vol. 57, 1503-1511. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-H-13-0286
History: Received October 22, 2013 , Accepted November 13, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2014, Vol. 57, 1503-1511. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-H-13-0286
History: Received October 22, 2013; Accepted November 13, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 4
Acknowledgments
This research was funded by the University of Washington Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences and was supported by the University of Washington Pediatric Aural Habilitation Research Lab. Portions of this article were presented at the American Auditory Society meeting in Scottsdale, AZ, on March 8, 2013. The authors wish to thank Kelly Tremblay, Lynne Werner, and Julie Arenberg Bierer for their valuable comments; Christi Miller for her insight to the development of this study; and Rachel Ersoff and Cornetta Mosley for their assistance with data collection.

Purpose The objectives of this study were to determine (a) whether school-age children with typical hearing demonstrate poorer auditory working memory performance in multitalker babble at degraded signal-to-noise ratios than in quiet; and (b) whether the amount of cognitive demand of the task contributed to differences in performance in noise. It was hypothesized that stressing the working memory system with the presence of noise would impede working memory processes in real time and result in poorer working memory performance in degraded conditions.

Method Twenty children with typical hearing between 8 and 10 years old were tested using 4 auditory working memory tasks (Forward Digit Recall, Backward Digit Recall, Listening Recall Primary, and Listening Recall Secondary). Stimuli were from the standardized Working Memory Test Battery for Children. Each task was administered in quiet and in 4-talker babble noise at 0 dB and −5 dB signal-to-noise ratios.

Results Children's auditory working memory performance was systematically decreased in the presence of multitalker babble noise compared with quiet. Differences between low-complexity and high-complexity tasks were observed, with children performing more poorly on tasks with greater storage and processing demands. There was no interaction between noise and complexity of task. All tasks were negatively impacted similarly by the addition of noise.

Conclusions Auditory working memory performance was negatively impacted by the presence of multitalker babble noise. Regardless of complexity of task, noise had a similar effect on performance. These findings suggest that the addition of noise inhibits auditory working memory processes in real time for school-age children.

Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access