Many of the elderly are hearing impaired with the hearing impairment sufficient to have an adverse effect on their ability to understand speech. The proposed project examines various factors which may contribute to the speech-understanding difficulties experienced by the hearing-impaired elderly. The proposed project uses a cross-sectional approach to examine age-related differences in two primary aspects of the speech-understanding process: (1) peripheral encoding mechanisms; and (2) cognitive processing. In the area of peripheral encoding mechanisms, experiments will investigate haw much of the speech-understanding deficits of the hearing-impaired elderly can be explained by the loss of hearing sensitivity alone and the extent to which the encoded representation of the acoustic stimulus is degraded internally by the sensorineural hearing loss. Modeling of the internal degradation that accompanies sensorineural hearing loss for simple and complex acoustic stimuli, including speech signals, will also be performed. Age-related differences in the cognitive processing of speech will also be examined. It is generally hypothesized that degradation of the speech stimuli, whether degraded internally (processed through an ear with sensorineural hearing loss) or externally (noise, reverberation, synthetic speech), will place increased demands on higher-level cognitive processing of speech stimuli. It is further hypothesized that elderly hearing- impaired listeners have a general deficit in the speed of cognitive processing that interacts with the increased processing demands associated with the degraded peripheral input to produce severe speech-understanding difficulties in this population. The interaction of deficits in cognitive processing with degradation in peripheral input will be investigated through examination of age-related differences in primary and secondary memory and in the use of contextual information for internally and externally degraded speech.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Sensory Disorders and Language Study Section (CMS)
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Indiana University Bloomington
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Humes, Larry E; Kidd, Gary R; Fogerty, Daniel (2017) Exploring Use of the Coordinate Response Measure in a Multitalker Babble Paradigm. J Speech Lang Hear Res 60:741-754
Fogerty, Daniel; Humes, Larry E; Busey, Thomas A (2016) Age-Related Declines in Early Sensory Memory: Identification of Rapid Auditory and Visual Stimulus Sequences. Front Aging Neurosci 8:90
Humes, Larry E; Young, Levi A (2016) Sensory-Cognitive Interactions in Older Adults. Ear Hear 37 Suppl 1:52S-61S
Krull, Vidya; Humes, Larry E (2016) Text as a Supplement to Speech in Young and Older Adults. Ear Hear 37:164-76
Humes, Larry E (2016) A Retrospective Examination of the Effect of Diabetes on Sensory Processing in Older Adults. Am J Audiol 25:364-367
Humes, Larry E (2015) Age-Related Changes in Cognitive and Sensory Processing: Focus on Middle-Aged Adults. Am J Audiol 24:94-7
Krull, Vidya; Humes, Larry E; Kidd, Gary R (2013) Reconstructing wholes from parts: effects of modality, age, and hearing loss on word recognition. Ear Hear 34:e14-23
Humes, Larry E; Kidd, Gary R; Lentz, Jennifer J (2013) Auditory and cognitive factors underlying individual differences in aided speech-understanding among older adults. Front Syst Neurosci 7:55
Fogerty, Daniel; Humes, Larry E (2012) A correlational method to concurrently measure envelope and temporal fine structure weights: effects of age, cochlear pathology, and spectral shaping. J Acoust Soc Am 132:1679-89
Fogerty, Daniel; Kewley-Port, Diane; Humes, Larry E (2012) The relative importance of consonant and vowel segments to the recognition of words and sentences: effects of age and hearing loss. J Acoust Soc Am 132:1667-78

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