Speech perception difficulties and their associated cognitive functions in older adults

노년층의 말소리 지각 능력 및 관련 인지적 변인

  • 이수정 (연세대학교 대학원 언어병리학협동과정) ;
  • 김향희 (연세대학교 대학원 언어병리학협동과정, 의과대학 재활의학 교실 및 연구소)
  • Received : 2016.01.11
  • Accepted : 2016.03.02
  • Published : 2016.03.31


The aims of the present study are two-fold: 1) to explore differences on speech perception between younger and older adults according to noise conditions; and 2) to investigate which cognitive domains are correlated with speech perception. Data were acquired from 15 younger adults and 15 older adults. Sentence recognition test was conducted in four noise conditions(i.e., in-quiet, +5 dB SNR, 0 dB SNR, -5 dB SNR). All participants completed auditory and cognitive assessment. Upon controlling for hearing thresholds, the older group revealed significantly poorer performance compared to the younger adults only under the high noise condition at -5 dB SNR. For older group, performance on Seoul Verbal Learning Test(immediate recall) was significantly correlated with speech perception performance, upon controlling for hearing thresholds. In older adults, working memory and verbal short-term memory are the best predictors of speech-in-noise perception. The current study suggests that consideration of cognitive function for older adults in speech perception assessment is necessary due to its adverse effect on speech perception under background noise.


  1. Anderson, S., Parbery-Clark, A., White-Schwoch, T., & Kraus, N. (2013a). Auditory brainstem response to complex sounds predicts self-reported speech-in-noise performance. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 56(1), 31-43.
  2. Anderson, S., White-Schwoch, T., Parbery-Clark, A., & Kraus, N. (2013b). A dynamic auditory-cognitive system supports speech-in-noise perception in older adults. Hearing Research, 300, 18-32.
  3. Budson, A. E. & Price, B. H. (2005). Memory dysfunction. New England Journal of Medicine, 352(7), 692-699.
  4. Burda, A. N. (2014). Communication and swallowing changes in healthy aging adults. H. Kim, J. Yoon, & J. Kim (Trans.). Seoul: Hakjisa. (Original work published in 2011) (Burda, A. N. (2014). 노화와 의사소통장애 [Communication and swallowing changes in healthy aging adults]. (김향희.윤지혜.김정완 공역). 서울: 학지사. (원전은 2011 에 출판))
  5. CHABA (Committee on Hearing, Bioacoustics, and Biomechanics). (1988). Speech understanding and aging. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 83, 859-895.
  6. Choi, H. J. (2014). Verbal working memory and verbal memory's relationship to discourse comprehension in healthy elderly. Communication Sciences & Disorders, 19(4), 513-522. (최현주 (2014). 고령자의 담화 이해 능력과 구어 작업기억 및 언어기억과의 상관. 언어청각장애연구, 19(4), 513-522.)
  7. Davis, M. H. & Johnsrude, I. S. (2007). Hearing speech sounds: top-down influences on the interface between audition and speech perception. Hearing Research, 229(1), 132-147.
  8. Friederici, A. D. (2012). The cortical language circuit: from auditory perception to sentence comprehension. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(5), 262-268.
  9. Gates, G. A., Gibbons, L. E., McCurry, S. M., Crane, P. K., Feeney, M. P., & Larson, E. B. (2010). Executive dysfunction and presbycusis in older persons with and without memory loss and dementia. Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, 23(4), 218-223.
  10. Han, W. J. (2003). Effects of age and hearing sensitivity on Korean speech perception in noise test. M.S. Thesis, Hallym University. (한우재 (2003). 연령과 청력 손실에 따른 K-SPIN 의 영향에 관한 연구. 한림대학교 석사학위논문.)
  11. Hinton, P. R., Brownlow, C., McMurray, I., & Cozens, B. (2004). SPSS explained. New York: Routledge.
  12. Humes, L. E., Watson, B. U., Christensen, L. A., Cokely, C. G., Halling, D. C., & Lee, L. (1994). Factors associated with individual differences in clinical measures of speech recognition among the elderly. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 37(2), 465-474.
  13. Humes, L. E. & Dubno, J. R. (2010). Factors affecting speech understanding in older adults. In S. Gordon-Salant, R. D. Frisina, R. R. Fay, & A. Popper (Eds.), The aging auditory system (pp. 211-257). New York: Springer.
  14. Ingvalson, E. M., Dhar, S., Wong, P. C., & Liu, H. (2015). Working memory training to improve speech perception in noise across languages. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 137(6), 3477-3486.
  15. Ishine, M., Okumiya, K., & Matsubayashi, K. (2007). A close association between hearing impairment and activities of daily living, depression, and quality of life in community-dwelling older people in Japan. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 55(2), 316-317.
  16. Jang, H. S., Lee, J. H., Lim, D. H., Lee, K. W., Jeon, A. R., & Jung, E. J. (2008). Development of Korean Standard Sentence Lists for sentence recognition test. Audiology, 4, 161-177. (장현숙.이정학.임덕환.이경원.전아름.정은조 (2008). 문장인지검사를 위한 한국표준 문장표 개발. 청능재활 , 4, 161-177.)
  17. Kang, Y. W., & Na, D. L. (2003). Seoul Neuropsychological Screening Battery (SNSB). Incheon: Human Brain Research and Consulting. (강연욱.나덕렬 (2003). 서울신경심리검사. 서울: 휴브알엔씨.)
  18. Kang, Y. W. (2006). A normative study of the Korean-Mini Mental State Examination (K-MMSE) in the elderly. Korean Journal of Psychology: General, 25(2), 1-12. (강연욱 (2006). K-MMSE (Korean-mini mental state examination)의 노인 규준 연구. 한국심리학회지: 일반, 25(2), 1-12.)
  19. Killion, M. C., & Niquette, P. A. (2000). What can the pure-tone audiogram tell us about a patient's SNR loss? The Hearing Journal, 53(3), 46-48.
  20. Lee, J. H., Cho, S. J., Kim, J. S., Jang, H. S., Lim, D. H., Lee, K. W., & Kim, H. J. (2010). Korean Speech Audiometry (KSA). Seoul: Hakjisa. (이정학.조수진.김진숙.장현숙.임덕환.이경원.김형종 (2010). 어음청각검사. 서울: 학지사.)
  21. Lee, S. J., Lee, S. J., Song, J. Y., & Kim, H. (2014). Characteristics of language comprehension in normal elderly and the mild cognitive impaired. Dementia and Neurocognitive Disorders, 13(3), 51-62. (이수정.이승진.송지연.김향희 (2014). 정상 노년층과 경도인지장애의 언어 이해력 특성. 대한치매학회지, 13(3), 51-62.)
  22. Lekeu, F., Magis, D., Marique, P., Delbeuck, X., Bechet, S., Guillaume, B., Adam, S., Petermans, J., Moonen, G., & Salmon, E. (2010). The California Verbal Learning Test and other standard clinical neuropsychological tests to predict conversion from mild memory impairment to dementia. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 32(2), 164-173.
  23. Pichora-Fuller, M. K., Schneider, B. A., & Daneman, M. (1995). How young and old adults listen to and remember speech in noise. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 97(1), 593-608.
  24. Pichora-Fuller, M. K. (2007). Audition and cognition: what audiologists need to know about listening. In C. Palmer & R. Seewald (Eds.), Hearing care for adults (pp. 71-85). Warrenville: Phonak.
  25. Pronk, M., Deeg, D. J., Smits, C., van Tilburg, T. G., Kuik, D. J., Festen, J. M., & Kramer, S. E. (2011). Prospective effects of hearing status on loneliness and depression in older persons: identification of subgroups. International Journal of Audiology, 50(12), 887-896.
  26. Ronnberg, J., Rudner, M., Lunner, T., & Zekveld, A. A. (2010). When cognition kicks in: working memory and speech understanding in noise. Noise and Health, 12(49), 263-269.
  27. Ronnlund, M., Nyberg, L., Backman, L., & Nilsson, L. G. (2005). Stability, growth, and decline in adult life span development of declarative memory: cross-sectional and longitudinal data from a population-based study. Psychology and Aging, 20(1), 3-18.
  28. Rudner, M., Lunner, T., Behrens, T., Thoren, E. S., & Ronnberg, J. (2012). Working memory capacity may influence perceived effort during aided speech recognition in noise. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 23(8), 577-589.
  29. Salthouse, T. A. (1996). The processing-speed theory of adult age differences in cognition. Psychological Review, 103(3), 403-428.
  30. Salthouse, T. A. (2009). When does age-related cognitive decline begin? Neurobiology of Aging, 30(4), 507-514.
  31. Schneider, B. A., Li, L., & Daneman, M. (2007). How competing speech interferes with speech comprehension in everyday listening situations. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 18(7), 559-572.
  32. Tamati, T. N., Gilbert, J. L., & Pisoni, D. B. (2013). Some factors underlying individual differences in speech recognition on PRESTO: a first report. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 24(7), 616-634.
  33. The Korean Audiological Society. (2008). Practical manual of hearing tests. Seoul: Hakjisa. (대한청각학회 (2008). 청각검사지침. 서울: 학지사.)
  34. van Rooij, J. C. & Plomp, R. (1992). Auditive and cognitive factors in speech perception by elderly listeners. III. Additional data and final discussion. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 91(2), 1028-1033.
  35. Wild, C. J., Yusuf, A., Wilson, D. E., Peelle, J. E., Davis, M. H., & Johnsrude, I. S. (2012). Effortful listening: the processing of degraded speech depends critically on attention. Journal of Neuroscience, 32(40), 14010-14021.

Cited by

  1. Effect of Keyword Position on Sentence Recognition under Background Noise in Mild Cognitive Impairment vol.21, pp.3, 2016,