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Poster D34

Measuring listening effort in adults with hearing loss using fNIRS

Poster Session D - Monday, April 15, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Hannah Shatzer1 (, Michael Zara2, Lucy Muir2, Frank Russo2; 1Metropolitan State University of Denver, 2Toronto Metropolitan University

Interpersonal communication frequently requires listening to speech in noisy conditions. These listening challenges are further exacerbated for individuals with hearing loss, who must exert greater effort to understand speech in noise. The current study used functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to assess the neural correlates of listening effort in older adults with a range of hearing ability, from normal hearing to moderate unaided hearing loss. Participants listened to sentences in noise with either a high (easy) or low (hard) signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). The sentences also differed in whether the last word was easily predictable from the preceding context (high/low context). Participants completed the task with two different response modes: In one half of the task, they verbally repeated the last word of the sentence. For the other half, they made a forced-choice keyboard response regarding whether the last word of the sentence was predictable from the preceding context, thereby avoiding motion artifacts from speaking. fNIRS recording was completed at bilateral frontal and temporal regions. Results from 11 adults show increased oxygenation in left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex for low SNR, indicating greater listening effort in more challenging listening conditions. Participants with greater degrees of hearing loss are also expected to show greater functional connectivity between dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and auditory cortex, which would indicate that hearing loss is related to stronger involvement of top-down processing in speech perception during effortful listening.

Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Other


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