How Hearing Loss and Age Affect Emotional Responses to Nonspeech Sounds Purpose The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of hearing loss and age on subjective ratings of emotional valence and arousal in response to nonspeech sounds. Method Three groups of adults participated: 20 younger listeners with normal hearing (M = 24.8 years), 20 older listeners ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2016
How Hearing Loss and Age Affect Emotional Responses to Nonspeech Sounds
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Erin M. Picou
    Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN
  • Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Erin M. Picou: erin.picou@vanderbilt.edu
  • Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray
    Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray×
  • Associate Editor: Karen Kirk
    Associate Editor: Karen Kirk×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2016
How Hearing Loss and Age Affect Emotional Responses to Nonspeech Sounds
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2016, Vol. 59, 1233-1246. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-H-15-0231
History: Received June 30, 2015 , Revised January 5, 2016 , Accepted March 25, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2016, Vol. 59, 1233-1246. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-H-15-0231
History: Received June 30, 2015; Revised January 5, 2016; Accepted March 25, 2016
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of hearing loss and age on subjective ratings of emotional valence and arousal in response to nonspeech sounds.

Method Three groups of adults participated: 20 younger listeners with normal hearing (M = 24.8 years), 20 older listeners with normal hearing (M = 55.8 years), and 20 older listeners with mild-to-severe acquired hearing loss (M = 65.6 years). Stimuli were presented via headphones at either 35 and 65 dB SPL or 50 and 80 dB SPL on the basis of random assignment within each group. Participants rated the emotional valence and arousal for previously normed nonspeech auditory stimuli.

Results Linear mixed model analyses were conducted separately for ratings of valence and arousal. Results revealed that listeners with hearing loss exhibited a reduced range of emotional ratings. Furthermore, for stimuli presented at 80 dB SPL, valence ratings from listeners with hearing loss were significantly lower than ratings from listeners with normal hearing.

Conclusions Acquired hearing loss, not increased age, affected emotional responses by reducing the range of subjective ratings and by reducing the reported valence of the highest intensity stimuli. These results have potentially important clinical implications for aural rehabilitation.

Acknowledgments
This project was funded in part through the Advancing Academic Research Career award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and through a grant from Phonak, AG. Portions of this project were presented at the Scientific and Technical Meeting of the American Auditory Society (March 2015, Scottsdale AZ). I would like to thank Gabrielle Buono, Kristen D'Onofrio, Miriam Glicksberg, Margaret Knott, and Bonnie Ong for their dedicated efforts in participant recruitment and data collection. Also, I would like to thank Todd Ricketts, Ben Hornsby, Travis Moore, and Warren Lambert for their valuable insights throughout the course of this project.
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