This application is directly responsive to the goals of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which are to accelerate the tempo of scientific research and to invest in economic impact through improved clinical care and job creation. The ability to comprehend spoken language in a face-to-face setting is an integral part of human communication, but this ability appears to diminish with age. Surprisingly, there are very few tests that reliably assess adult comprehension of spoken language based on auditory stimuli, and no tests for assessing comprehension based on audiovisual stimuli. The few existing auditory spoken language comprehension tests include only one or two forms, and so are not appropriate for tracking performance longitudinally. In order to achieve three of the Specific Aims in the parent grant, including one that involves assessing older person's discourse comprehension over an 18-month time interval, we developed the audiovisual test, Lectures, Interviews, and Spoken Narratives (LISN) Test. This test consists of eight forms, each consisting of six spoken passages. After hearing and seeing a talker speak each passage, test-takers answer six comprehension questions. In this Supplement project, newly hired staff will conduct the necessary tests to establish the reliability and validity of the eight LISN forms, for both an auditory-only presentation condition and an audiovisual presentation condition. Participants will include 100 paid volunteers, 50 of whom are between the ages of 20-30 yrs and 50 of whom are between the ages of 70-80 yrs. Based on the data for the individual passages and questions, we will recombine the passages (and revise questions when appropriate) to create eight equivalent forms of six passages each and to create multiple shortened, clinical versions of the test. This research will not only facilitate interpretation of the findings from the parent grant, but will also result in an important research and clinical measurement instrument, a spoken language comprehension test that has here-to-fore been missing from the arsenal of tests available to audiologists and researchers.

Public Health Relevance

Under the parent grant, we are conducting the systematic investigation of how aging affects audiovisual integration and spoken language comprehension, and how performance varies with hearing and visual acuity. In the proposed project, we will establish the reliability and validity of alternative forms of our newly developed test of spoken language comprehension, a test that is the centerpiece assessment instrument for the parent grant and that may well become an important clinical tool for audiologists and researchers who work with older adults.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BBBP-E (85))
Program Officer
Chen, Wen G
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Washington University
Schools of Medicine
Saint Louis
United States
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Spehar, Brent; Tye-Murray, Nancy; Myerson, Joel et al. (2016) Real-Time Captioning for Improving Informed Consent: Patient and Physician Benefits. Reg Anesth Pain Med 41:65-8
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