Poster C88, Sunday, March 25, 1:00-3:00 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Effect of listening environment on cortical entrainment to continuous speech in older adults
Jacie R. McHaney1, Benjamin D. Zinszer1, Kirsten E. Smayda1, Bharath Chandrasekaran1; 1The University of Texas at Austin
As we age, understanding conversations in noisy environments (speech perception in noise; SPIN) becomes increasingly difficult. Enhanced cortical entrainment to the speech envelope is one mechanism supporting SPIN in young adults. However, the extent to which older adults use envelope cues to enhance SPIN is unclear. The goal of this project was to understand the extent to which neural encoding of the speech envelope in differing listening conditions predicts speech comprehension in older adults. We presented continuous English speech to 22 native-English older adults while recording electroencephalography in quiet (without background noise) and time-reversed speech masking conditions. To measure speech comprehension, participants answered multiple-choice questions after each 60-second interval of speech. Participants also completed a SPIN task with speech-shaped-noise masking. Comprehension was significantly higher in the quiet condition relative to masked condition (t(13) = 2.9, p = 0.01), suggesting SPIN performance is sensitive to listening condition. A linear model predicting comprehension indicated a significant interaction between condition and cortical entrainment (p < 0.01). When pure tone averages (PTA) and SPIN scores were included as covariates, cortical entrainment significantly correlated with comprehension in the masked condition (r = 0.67, p < 0.01), but not in the quiet condition (r = 0.12, p = 0.68). Further, cortical entrainment greatly improved model fitness in the masked condition (Adj-R2 = 0.78) compared to PTA and SPIN alone (Adj-R2 = 0.46). These findings suggest that the magnitude of older adults’ cortical entrainment to the speech envelope may predict participants’ speech comprehension under noisy listening conditions.
Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Audition