Dichotic Word Recognition in Noise and the Right-Ear Advantage

Roup, Christina M.
February 2011
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Feb2011, Vol. 54 Issue 1, p292
Academic Journal
Purpose: This study sought to compare dichotic right-ear advantages (REAs) of young adults to older adult data (C.M. Roup, T. L.Wiley, & R. H.Wilson, 2006) after matching for overall levels of recognition performance. Specifically, speech-spectrum noise was introduced in order to reduce dichotic recognition performance of young adults to a level consistent with that of older adults with hearing loss. Method: Dichotic word-recognition performance was evaluated in the free-recall response paradigm across 2 conditions: (a) quiet and (b) noise (+11 dB signal-tonoise ratio). Participants included a group of right-handed young adults (n = 32) with normal hearing. Results: The introduction of noise resulted in significantly poorer dichotic word-recognition performance than in the quiet condition for the young adults. REAs, however, did not differ between the 2 conditions. Relative to the Roup et al. (2006) older adult data, performance of the young adults in the noise condition resulted in (a) similar levels of overall recognition performance and (b) significantly smaller REAs. Conclusions: Results suggest that the magnitude of the REA is not dependent upon the difficulty of the dichotic task. Rather, the large REAs exhibited by older adults are more likely related to age-related deficits in auditory processing.


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