Auditory Verbal Working Memory as a Predictor of Speech Perception in Modulated Maskers in Listeners With Normal Hearing Purpose Background noise can interfere with our ability to understand speech. Working memory capacity (WMC) has been shown to contribute to the perception of speech in modulated noise maskers. WMC has been assessed with a variety of auditory and visual tests, often pertaining to different components of working memory. This ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 24, 2017
Auditory Verbal Working Memory as a Predictor of Speech Perception in Modulated Maskers in Listeners With Normal Hearing
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rebecca E. Millman
    Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine, and Health, University of Manchester, UK
  • Sven L. Mattys
    Department of Psychology, University of York, UK
  • 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 Rebecca E. Millman: rebecca.millman@manchester.ac.uk
  • Editor: Julie Liss
    Editor: Julie Liss×
  • Associate Editor: Bharath Chandrasekaran
    Associate Editor: Bharath Chandrasekaran×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 24, 2017
Auditory Verbal Working Memory as a Predictor of Speech Perception in Modulated Maskers in Listeners With Normal Hearing
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, May 2017, Vol. 60, 1236-1245. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-S-16-0105
History: Received March 16, 2016 , Revised August 22, 2016 , Accepted October 27, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, May 2017, Vol. 60, 1236-1245. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-S-16-0105
History: Received March 16, 2016; Revised August 22, 2016; Accepted October 27, 2016

Purpose Background noise can interfere with our ability to understand speech. Working memory capacity (WMC) has been shown to contribute to the perception of speech in modulated noise maskers. WMC has been assessed with a variety of auditory and visual tests, often pertaining to different components of working memory. This study assessed the relationship between speech perception in modulated maskers and components of auditory verbal working memory (AVWM) over a range of signal-to-noise ratios.

Method Speech perception in noise and AVWM were measured in 30 listeners (age range 31–67 years) with normal hearing. AVWM was estimated using forward digit recall, backward digit recall, and nonword repetition.

Results After controlling for the effects of age and average pure-tone hearing threshold, speech perception in modulated maskers was related to individual differences in the phonological component of working memory (as assessed by nonword repetition) but only in the least favorable signal-to-noise ratio. The executive component of working memory (as assessed by backward digit) was not predictive of speech perception in any conditions.

Conclusions AVWM is predictive of the ability to benefit from temporal dips in modulated maskers: Listeners with greater phonological WMC are better able to correctly identify sentences in modulated noise backgrounds.

Acknowledgments
This study was funded in part by the Wellcome Trust [ref: 105624], awarded to Sven L. Mattys, through the Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders (C2D2) at the University of York, UK. Portions of this work were presented at the Third International Conference on Cognitive Hearing Science for Communication, Linköping, Sweden, 2015.
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