Multiple perspectives on the association between cognition and speech-in-noise perception performance

Dryden, Adam (2018) Multiple perspectives on the association between cognition and speech-in-noise perception performance. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis investigated the role of cognition and hearing sensitivity in Speech-in-Noise (SiN) perception across different listener groups and SiN listening conditions.

A typical approach to investigating the contribution of cognition is correlating cognitive ability to SiN intelligibility in populations controlled for or varied in age and/or hearing sensitivity. However, using this approach to advance our understanding of the contribution of cognition, and its potential interaction with age and hearing loss, for SiN perception has been limited by a combination of: A lack of systematicity in selection of SiN perception tests and a lack of theoretical rigor in selection of cognitive tests, a lack of comparability across studies due to differences in both cognitive test and SiN perception test selections, and in differences in age or hearing sensitivity ranges among tested populations, and the limitations of using a correlation study approach. Therefore, the main focus of the thesis will be to generate evidence to overcome these limitations in three purpose-designed investigations, discussed in chapters two, three and four respectively.

In chapter two I report a systematic review and meta-analysis which took a systematic and theory driven approach to comprehensively and quantitatively assess published evidence for the role of cognition in SiN perception. The results of this chapter suggest a general association of r~.3 between cognitive performance and SiN perception, although some variability in association appeared to exist depending on cognitive domain and SiN target or masker assessed.

In chapter three I present a study which used a theory-driven and systematic approach to investigate the contribution of cognition and listener characteristics (namely age and hearing sensitivity differences across younger and older listener groups) for SiN perception in different SiN conditions, using an association study design. The study revealed that the Central Executive contributed to SiN perception performance in older, but not younger listeners, regardless of SiN condition. Phonological Loop processing was important for both listener groups, but with a different role depending on age group and masker type. Episodic Buffer ability only contributed to SiN performance for older listeners, and was modulated by hearing sensitivity and background masker.

In chapter four, building on the association study findings, I report a dual-task study that manipulated the availability of specific cognitive abilities for SiN perception for younger adult listeners. Here I provided further evidence to show Phonological Loop ability is more important than Central Executive ability and Episodic Buffer ability for SiN perception for this listener group, using a carefully controlled experimental design.

In summary, the evidence from this thesis indicates that the role of different cognitive abilities for SiN perception can differ depending on age, hearing sensitivity and listening condition. Additionally, using a systematic approach and combining multiple methodological techniques has been informative in investigating these roles to a greater extent than has previously been achieved in the literature.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Heinrich, Antje
Allen, Harriet A.
Henshaw, Helen
Keywords: cognition, hearing sensitivity, Speech-in-Noise (SiN) perception
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Item ID: 52541
Depositing User: Dryden, Adam
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2018 04:40
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2018 04:40

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