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On The (Un)importance of Working Memory in Speech-in-Noise Processing for Listeners with Normal Hearing Thresholds

Fullgrabe, C; Rosen, S; (2016) On The (Un)importance of Working Memory in Speech-in-Noise Processing for Listeners with Normal Hearing Thresholds. Frontiers in Psychology , 7 , Article 1268. 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01268. Green open access

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Abstract

With the advent of cognitive hearing science, increased attention has been given to individual differences in cognitive functioning and their explanatory power in accounting for inter-listener variability in the processing of speech in noise (SiN). The psychological construct that has received much interest in recent years is working memory. Empirical evidence indeed confirms the association between WM capacity (WMC) and SiN identification in older hearing-impaired listeners. However, some theoretical models propose that variations in WMC are an important predictor for variations in speech processing abilities in adverse perceptual conditions for all listeners, and this notion has become widely accepted within the field. To assess whether WMC also plays a role when listeners without hearing loss process speech in adverse listening conditions, we surveyed published and unpublished studies in which the Reading-Span test (a widely used measure of WMC) was administered in conjunction with a measure of SiN identification, using sentence material routinely used in audiological and hearing research. A meta-analysis revealed that, for young listeners with audiometrically normal hearing, individual variations in WMC are estimated to account for, on average, less than 2% of the variance in SiN identification scores. This result cautions against the (intuitively appealing) assumption that individual variations in WMC are predictive of SiN identification independently of the age and hearing status of the listener.

Type: Article
Title: On The (Un)importance of Working Memory in Speech-in-Noise Processing for Listeners with Normal Hearing Thresholds
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01268
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01268
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 Füllgrabe and Rosen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: working memory, speech perception in noise, aging, normal hearing, hearing loss, supra-threshold auditory processing, sentence identification, reading-span test
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1520536
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