Measures of Working Memory, Sequence Learning, and Speech Recognition in the Elderly

Humes, Larry E.; Floyd, Shari S.
February 2005
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Feb2005, Vol. 48 Issue 1, p224
Academic Journal
This study describes the measurement of 2 cognitive functions, working-memory capacity and sequence learning, in 2 groups of listeners: young adults with normal hearing and elderly adults with impaired hearing. The measurement of these 2 cognitive abilities with a unique, nonverbal technique capable of auditory, visual, and auditory-visual stimulation, patterned after the Simon memory game, is described. The use of simple, easily understood items in the test sequences enabled the measurement of these cognitive abilities in older listeners with no apparent impact of age-related hearing loss on the cognitive measures. Age-related cognitive deficits were observed for all 3 modes of stimulation and in both working-memory capacity and sequence-learning ability. The age-related deficits appeared to be greatest, however, for the sequence-learning task. Although it was hypothesized that there might be an association between an individual's performance on these cognitive tasks and his or her performance on various measures of speech recognition, such an association generally was not observed.


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