ERIC Number: EJ1179764
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-May
Abstractor: As Provided
Children's Speech Perception in Noise: Evidence for Dissociation from Language and Working Memory
Magimairaj, Beula M.; Nagaraj, Naveen K.; Benafield, Natalie J.
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, v61 n5 p1294-1305 May 2018
Purpose: We examined the association between speech perception in noise (SPIN), language abilities, and working memory (WM) capacity in school-age children. Existing studies supporting the Ease of Language Understanding (ELU) model suggest that WM capacity plays a significant role in adverse listening situations. Method: Eighty-three children between the ages of 7 to 11 years participated. The sample represented a continuum of individual differences in attention, memory, and language abilities. All children had normal-range hearing and normal-range nonverbal IQ. Children completed the Bamford-Kowal-Bench Speech-in-Noise Test (BKB-SIN; Etymotic Research, 2005), a selective auditory attention task, and multiple measures of language and WM. Results: Partial correlations (controlling for age) showed significant positive associations among attention, memory, and language measures. However, BKB-SIN did not correlate significantly with any of the other measures. Principal component analysis revealed a distinct WM factor and a distinct language factor. BKB-SIN loaded robustly as a distinct 3rd factor with minimal secondary loading from sentence recall and short-term memory. Nonverbal IQ loaded as a 4th factor. Conclusions: Results did not support an association between SPIN and WM capacity in children. However, in this study, a single SPIN measure was used. Future studies using multiple SPIN measures are warranted. Evidence from the current study supports the use of BKB-SIN as clinical measure of speech perception ability because it was not influenced by variation in children's language and memory abilities. More large-scale studies in school-age children are needed to replicate the proposed role played by WM in adverse listening situations.
Descriptors: Speech Communication, Auditory Perception, Acoustics, Language Skills, Short Term Memory, Children, Preadolescents, Educational Environment, Attention, Correlation, Sentences, Recall (Psychology), Nonverbal Ability, Intelligence Quotient, Tests, Interference (Learning)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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