Exploring Cognitive Spare Capacity : Executive Processing of Degraded Speech [book]

Sushmit Mishra
2014 unpublished
Cognitive resources, specifically working memory capacity are used for listening to speech, especially in noise. Cognitive resources are limited, and if listeners allocate a greater share of these resources to recovering the input signal in noise, fewer resources are available for interpreting and encoding its linguistic content. Although the importance of CSC for individual success in communicative situations has been acknowledged, this concept has not hitherto been explored experimentally. In
more » ... this thesis, a CSC test (CSCT) was developed and administered to young adults with normal hearing and older adults with age-related hearing loss. CSCT required executive processing of speech at different memory loads with and without visual cues in different noise conditions. A free recall task using the same material was administered for comparison purposes and a battery of cognitive tests was administered to understand the relation between CSC and established cognitive concepts. The aims of the thesis were to investigate how CSC is influenced by 1) different executive demands and memory loads; 2) background noise; 3) visual cues; 4) aging and concomitant hearing loss. The results showed that 1) CSC was sensitive to memory load, and updating demands reduced CSC more than inhibition demands; 2) CSC was reduced in background noise compared to quiet; 3) visual cues enhanced CSC especially in noise; 4) CSC was reduced with ageing and concomitant hearing loss especially when visual cues were absent, memory demands were increased and background noise was speech-like. The main finding of this thesis was that visual cues enhanced CSC for older individuals with hearing loss, specifically in adverse listening conditions. This demonstrates the importance of audiovisual testing in audiological assessment. Further, specific cognitive resources depleted during listening in noise were at least partially compensated by other cognitive functions. This thesis is the first step towards a theoretical understanding of CSC and in future, tests of CSC may play a crucial role in planning rehabilitation of persons with hearing loss.
doi:10.3384/diss.diva-104946 fatcat:x6qklt4275gl7jvdkf3nbbbywu