The Effect of Noise on the Relationship Between Auditory Working Memory and Comprehension in School-Age Children Purpose The objectives of the current study were to examine the effect of noise (−5 dB SNR) on auditory comprehension and to examine its relationship with working memory. It was hypothesized that noise has a negative impact on information processing, auditory working memory, and comprehension. Method Children with ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2015
The Effect of Noise on the Relationship Between Auditory Working Memory and Comprehension in School-Age Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jessica R. Sullivan
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Homira Osman
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Erin C. Schafer
    University of North Texas, Denton
  • 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 Jessica R. Sullivan: sulli10@uw.edu
  • Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray
    Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray×
  • Associate Editor: Mitchell Sommers
    Associate Editor: Mitchell Sommers×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2015
The Effect of Noise on the Relationship Between Auditory Working Memory and Comprehension in School-Age Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2015, Vol. 58, 1043-1051. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-H-14-0204
History: Received July 29, 2014 , Revised December 12, 2014 , Accepted February 12, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2015, Vol. 58, 1043-1051. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-H-14-0204
History: Received July 29, 2014; Revised December 12, 2014; Accepted February 12, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Purpose The objectives of the current study were to examine the effect of noise (−5 dB SNR) on auditory comprehension and to examine its relationship with working memory. It was hypothesized that noise has a negative impact on information processing, auditory working memory, and comprehension.

Method Children with normal hearing between the ages of 8 and 10 years were administered working memory and comprehension tasks in quiet and noise. The comprehension measure comprised 5 domains: main idea, details, reasoning, vocabulary, and understanding messages.

Results Performance on auditory working memory and comprehension tasks were significantly poorer in noise than in quiet. The reasoning, details, understanding, and vocabulary subtests were particularly affected in noise (p < .05). The relationship between auditory working memory and comprehension was stronger in noise than in quiet, suggesting an increased contribution of working memory.

Conclusions These data suggest that school-age children's auditory working memory and comprehension are negatively affected by noise. Performance on comprehension tasks in noise is strongly related to demands placed on working memory, supporting the theory that degrading listening conditions draws resources away from the primary task.

Acknowledgments
We are grateful to the University of Washington Pediatric Aural Habilitation Laboratory for assistance in data collection and the P30 Grant for participant recruitment. Funding was provided by the University of Washington Royalty Research Fund A73769.
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