Speech perception and listening effort in age-related hearing loss
Age-related hearing loss involves the decrease in hearing abilities for the high frequencies and therefore leads to impairments in understanding and processing speech, particularly in difficult listening situations. Growing evidence suggests that the decrease in hearing abilities is associated with an increased listening effort, decreased cognitive functioning as well as alterations in neural activity.
This talk therefore concentrates on functional magnetic resonance imaging studies in elderly hearing-impaired participants considering speech perception under difficult listening conditions. Differences in speech processing between hearing-impaired and normal-hearing participants under different stimulation conditions (auditory-only, visual-only, audio-visual congruent and audio-visual incongruent) as well as varying difficulty levels (high and low cognitive load as well as high and low listening effort) will be demonstrated. Further, the influence of listening effort experienced in daily life and cognitive abilities, for instance cognitive flexibility, will be discussed. Findings support the hypothesis that age-related hearing loss leads to widespread changes in neural activity that are related to the decreased auditory input but also to the increased experienced listening effort.