Stenbäck, Marsja, Hällgren, Lyxell & Larsby (2021): The Contribution of Age, Working Memory Capacity, and Inhibitory Control on Speech Recognition in Noise in Young and Older Adult Listeners

I: Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Online first.

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Victoria Stenbäck, Erik Marsja, Mathias Hällgren, Björn Lyxell og Birgitta Larsby



The study aimed to investigate the relationship between speech recognition in noise, age, hearing ability, self-rated listening effort, inhibitory control (measured with the Swedish Hayling task), and working memory capacity (WMC; measured with the Reading Span test). Two different speech materials were used: the Hagerman test with low semantic context and Hearing in Noise Test sentences with high semantic context, masked with either energetic or informational maskers.


A mixed design was used. Twenty-four young normally hearing (Mage = 25.6 years) and 24 older, for their age, normally hearing individuals (Mage = 60.6 years) participated in the study. Speech recognition in noise in both speech materials and self-rated effort in all four background maskers were correlated with inhibitory control and WMC. A linear mixed-effects model was set up to assess differences between the two different speech materials, the four different maskers used in the study, and if age and hearing ability affected performance in the speech materials or the various background noises.


Results showed that high WMC was related to lower scores of self-rated listening effort for informational maskers, as well as better performance in speech recognition in noise when informational maskers were used. The linear mixed-effects model revealed differences in performance between the low-context and the high-context speech materials, and the various maskers used. Lastly, inhibitory control had some impact on performance in the low-context speech material when masked with an informational masker.


Different background noises, especially informational maskers, affect speech recognition and self-rated listening effort differently depending on age, hearing ability, and individual variation in WMC and inhibitory control.

Publisert 4. okt. 2021 13:06 - Sist endret 4. okt. 2021 13:06