In the 2000 U.S. Census, 35 million Americans over 65 years of age were counted, representing 12.4% of the U.S. population. Approximately 30% of those over age 65 in the U.S. have a significant hearing loss that is sufficient to make them hearing-aid candidates. Yet, only about 20% of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually seek them out and, of those who do seek them out, only about 40-60% are satisfied with them and use their hearing aids regularly. Nonetheless, those over 60 years of age still represent the largest group of hearing-aid purchasers in the U.S., with those over age 60 purchasing about 2/3 of the hearing aids sold. Thus, understanding the factors that determine hearing-aid benefit and developing means to improve benefit are significant issues for many older adults in the U.S. The most common communication complaint of older adults with impaired hearing is that they can hear speech, but can't understand it. This is especially true when there are competing sounds, typically other speech, in the background. Hearing aids, to be effective, must address this common complaint and improve speech understanding, especially in backgrounds of competing speech. Hearing aids have the potential to improve speech communication by restoring the audibility of previously inaudible speech sounds, typically high-frequency speech sounds for older adults, but this potential does not appear to be realized. In the proposed project, we intend to examine further the aided speech-understanding performance of older adults in backgrounds of competing speech. The contributions of central and cognitive factors to the performance of older adults in these situations represent the focus of a series of laboratory experiments. Experiments address the ability of older listeners to use sound-segregation cues to selectively attend to the message from one talker while ignoring competing messages from other talkers. Additional experiments assess whether it is the fluctuating nature of the competing speech stimulus, the semantic/syntactic structure of the competing speech stimulus, or both, that underlie the difficulties experienced by older adults. Finally, another experiment examines the ability of older adults to reconstruct the speech message from the temporal, spectral, and spectro-temporal fragments heard in noise. The most common communication complaint of older adults with impaired hearing is that they can hear speech, but can't understand it, especially when there are competing sounds, typically other speech, in the background. Hearing aids, to be effective for older adults, must address this common complaint and improve speech understanding. In the proposed project, we intend to examine further the factors impacting the aided speech- understanding performance of older adults in backgrounds of competing speech.

Public Health Relevance

The most common communication complaint of older adults with impaired hearing is that they can hear speech, but can't understand it, especially when there are competing sounds, typically other speech, in the background. Hearing aids, to be effective for older adults, must address this common complaint and improve speech understanding. In the proposed project, we intend to examine further the factors impacting the aided speech- understanding performance of older adults in backgrounds of competing speech.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01AG008293-20
Application #
8432016
Study Section
Auditory System Study Section (AUD)
Program Officer
Chen, Wen G
Project Start
1990-05-01
Project End
2014-02-28
Budget Start
2013-04-15
Budget End
2014-02-28
Support Year
20
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$276,178
Indirect Cost
$91,831
Name
Indiana University Bloomington
Department
Other Health Professions
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
006046700
City
Bloomington
State
IN
Country
United States
Zip Code
47401
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
Kidd, Gary R; Humes, Larry E (2012) Effects of age and hearing loss on the recognition of interrupted words in isolation and in sentences. J Acoust Soc Am 131:1434-48
Fogerty, Daniel; Humes, Larry E (2012) The role of vowel and consonant fundamental frequency, envelope, and temporal fine structure cues to the intelligibility of words and sentences. J Acoust Soc Am 131:1490-501
Fogerty, Daniel (2011) Perceptual weighting of individual and concurrent cues for sentence intelligibility: frequency, envelope, and fine structure. J Acoust Soc Am 129:977-88
Fogerty, Daniel (2011) Perceptual weighting of the envelope and fine structure across frequency bands for sentence intelligibility: effect of interruption at the syllabic-rate and periodic-rate of speech. J Acoust Soc Am 130:489-500
Fogerty, Daniel; Humes, Larry E (2010) Perceptual contributions to monosyllabic word intelligibility: segmental, lexical, and noise replacement factors. J Acoust Soc Am 128:3114-25
Wang, Xin; Humes, Larry E (2010) Factors influencing recognition of interrupted speech. J Acoust Soc Am 128:2100-11
Humes, Larry E; Burk, Matthew H; Strauser, Lauren E et al. (2009) Development and efficacy of a frequent-word auditory training protocol for older adults with impaired hearing. Ear Hear 30:613-27
Humes, Larry E; Coughlin, Maureen (2009) Aided speech-identification performance in single-talker competition by older adults with impaired hearing. Scand J Psychol 50:485-94
Shrivastav, Mini N; Humes, Larry E; Aylsworth, Lacy (2008) Temporal order discrimination of tonal sequences by younger and older adults: the role of duration and rate. J Acoust Soc Am 124:462-71

Showing the most recent 10 out of 33 publications