The Effect of Age on Listening Effort Purpose The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of age on listening effort. Method A dual-task paradigm was used to evaluate listening effort in different conditions of background noise. Sixty adults ranging in age from 20 to 77 years were included. A primary speech-recognition task ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2015
The Effect of Age on Listening Effort
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sofie Degeest
    Ghent University, Belgium
  • Hannah Keppler
    Ghent University, Belgium
  • Paul Corthals
    Ghent University, Belgium
    University College Ghent, Belgium
  • 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 Sofie Degeest: sofie.degeest@ugent.be
  • Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray
    Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray×
  • Associate Editor: Kathleen Cienkowski
    Associate Editor: Kathleen Cienkowski×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2015
The Effect of Age on Listening Effort
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2015, Vol. 58, 1592-1600. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-H-14-0288
History: Received October 15, 2014 , Revised March 12, 2015 , Accepted June 3, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2015, Vol. 58, 1592-1600. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-H-14-0288
History: Received October 15, 2014; Revised March 12, 2015; Accepted June 3, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 4

Purpose The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of age on listening effort.

Method A dual-task paradigm was used to evaluate listening effort in different conditions of background noise. Sixty adults ranging in age from 20 to 77 years were included. A primary speech-recognition task and a secondary memory task were performed both separately and simultaneously. Multiple regression analyses were used to evaluate how age and hearing thresholds affect speech recognition and listening effort scores.

Results Results of the multiple regression analyses showed that age is a significant determinant of listening effort, whereby listening effort increases with increasing age even when age-related variance in speech recognition is partialled out. On the basis of the regression equations and the median score for listening effort, it was found that listening effort started to increase in the fourth decade of life.

Conclusions This study was a first exploration of listening effort from young to older adults and showed that, independent of hearing sensitivity, listening effort increases with age. To be more specific, there is a need to further investigate the cognitive functions important for speech communication while exploring their possible relationship with listening effort.

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