J Am Acad Audiol 2001; 12(07): 357-370
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-1745620
Original Article

Evaluation of a Cognitive Test Battery in Young and Elderly Normal-Hearing and Hearing-Impaired Persons

Mathias Hällgren
Department of Neuroscience and Locomotion, Division of Technical Audiology, Linkoping University, Linkoping, Sweden
Birgitta Larsby
Department of Neuroscience and Locomotion, Division of Technical Audiology, Linkoping University, Linkoping, Sweden
Björn Lyxell
Department of Behavioral Sciences, Linkoping University, Linkoping, Sweden
Stig Arlinger
Department of Neuroscience and Locomotion, Division of Technical Audiology, Linkoping University, Linkoping, Sweden
› Author Affiliations


A cognitive test battery sensitive to processes important for speech understanding was developed and investigated. Test stimuli are presented as text or in an auditory or audiovisual modality. The tests investigate phonologic processing and verbal information processing. Four subject groups, young/elderly with normal-hearing and young/elderly with hearing impairment, each including 12 subjects, participated in the study. The only significant effect in the text modality was an age effect in the speed of performance, seen also in the auditory and audiovisual modalities. In the auditory and audiovisual modalities, the effects of hearing status and modality were seen in accuracy parameters. Interactions between hearing status and modality, both in accuracy and in reaction times, show that hearing-impaired subjects have difficulties without visual cues. Performing the test battery in noise made the tasks more difficult, especially in the auditory modality and for the elderly, affecting both accuracy and speed. Test-retest measurements showed learning effects and a modality-dependent variability. The test battery has proven useful in assessing the relative contribution of different input signals and the effects of age, hearing impairment, and visual contribution on functions important for speech processing.

Abbreviations: ANOVA = analysis of variance, PTA = pure-tone average, SNR = signal-to-noise ratio, SVIPS = speech and visual information processing system, TIPS = text information processing system

Publication History

Article published online:
03 March 2022

© 2001. American Academy of Audiology. This article is published by Thieme.

Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.
333 Seventh Avenue, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10001, USA


  • Allén S. (1970). Frequency Dictionary of Present-Day Swedish Lin Swedish: Nusvensk FrekvensbokJ. Stockholm: Almquist & Wiksell.
  • Andersson U, Lyxell B. (1998). Phonological deterioration in adults with an acquired severe hearing impairment. ScandAudiol 27:93–100.
  • Andersson U, Lyxell B, Rönnberg J, Spens K-E. (2001). Cognitive correlates of visual speech understanding in hearing-impaired individuals. J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ 6:103–115.
  • Ausmeel H. (1988). TIPS (Text-Information-ProcessingSystem): A User’s Guide. Linköping, Sweden: Department of Education and Psychology, Linköping University.
  • BaddeleyA, Logie R, Nimmo-Smith I, Brereton N. (1985). Components of fluent reading. J Mem Lang 24:119–131.
  • Birren JE, Fisher LM. (1995). Speed of behavior: possible consequences for psychological functioning. Ann Rev Psychol 46:329–353.
  • Committee on Hearing Bioacoustics and Biomechanics. (1988). Speech understanding and aging. J Acoust Soc Am 83:859–895.
  • Frisina DR, Frisina RD. (1997). Speech recognition in noise and presbycusis: relations to possible neural mechanisms. Hear Res 106:95–104.
  • Gordon-Salant S, Fitzgibbons PJ. (1997). Selected cognitive factors and speech recognition performance among young and elderly listeners. J Speech Lang Hear Res 40:423–431.
  • Gustafsson HA, Arlinger SD. (1994). Masking of speech by amplitude-modulated noise. J Acoust Soc Am 95:518–529.
  • Hagerman B. (1982). Sentences for testing speech intelligibility in noise. Scand Audiol 11:79–87.
  • Hällgren M, Larsby B, Lyxell B, Arlinger S. (2001). Cognitive effects in dichotic speech testing in elderly persons. Ear Hear 22:120–129.
  • Hawkins DB, Montgomery AA, Mueller HG, Sedge RK. (1988). Assessment of speech intelligibility by hearing impaired listeners. In: Berglund K, ed. Noise as a Public Health Problem. Hearing, Communication, Sleep and Nonauditory Physiological Effects. Stockholm: Swedish Council for Building Research, 241–246.
  • Humes LE. (1996). Speech understanding in the elderly. J Am Acad Audiol 7:161–167.
  • Hygge S, Rönnberg J, Larsby B, Arlinger SD. (1992). Normal-hearing and hearing-impaired subjects’ ability to just follow conversation in competing speech, reversed speech, and noise backgrounds. J Speech Hear Res 35:201–215.
  • International Standards Organization 1999. (1990). Acoustics: Determination of Occupational Noise Exposure and Estimation of Noise-Induced Hearing Impairment. Geneva: ISO.
  • Jerger J, Jerger S, Oliver T, Pirozzolo F. (1989). Speech understanding in the elderly. Ear Hear 10:79–89.
  • Jones D. (1999). The cognitive psychology of auditory distraction: the 1997 BPS Broadbent lecture. Br J Psychol 90:167–187.
  • Lyxell B, Andersson U. (1999). Phonological capabilities in deafened adults: functional consequences. In: Alegria J, ed. Deafness and Access to Written Language. Abstracts and Proceedings from the ACFOS Conference in Paris, France, 181–188.
  • Lyxell B, Andersson U, Andersson J, Arlinger S, Harder H. (1998). Phonological representation and speech understanding with cochlear implants in deafened adults. Scand J Psychol 39:175–179.
  • Lyxell B, Borg E, Berggren P, Samuelsson E. (2001). Speech Understanding in Noise with Hearing-Aids: Some Cognitive Implications. Linköping, Sweden: Department of Behavioral Sciences, Linköping University.
  • Lyxell B, Holmberg I. (2000). Visual speechreading and cognitive performance in hearing-impaired and normal hearing children (11–14 years). Br J Educ Psychol 70:505–518.
  • Lyxell B, Rönnberg J. (1991). Word discrimination and chronological age related sentence-based speechreading skill. Br J Audiol 25:3–10.
  • Macken W, Tremblay S, Alford D, Jones D. (1999). Attentional selectivity in short-term memory: similarity of process, not similarity of content, determines disruption. Int J Psychol 34:322–327.
  • Pichora-Fuller MK, Schneider BA, Daneman M. (1995). How young and old adults listen to and remember speech in noise. J Acoust Soc Am 97:593–608.
  • Rönnberg J. (1990). Cognitive and communicative function: the effect of chronological age. Eur J Cogn Psychol 2:253–275.
  • Rönnberg J. (1995). What makes a skilled speechreader? In: Plant G, Spens K-E, eds. Profound Deafness and Speech Communication. London: Whurr, 393–416.
  • Rönnberg J, Andersson J, Andersson U, Johansson K, Lyxell B, Samuelsson S. (1998). Cognition as a bridge between signal and dialogue: communication in the hearing impaired and deaf. Scand Audiol 27:101–108.
  • Rönnberg J, Samuelsson E, Borg E. (2000). Visual cognitive tests, central auditory function and auditory communication. Scand Audiol 29:196–206.
  • Schneider BA, Daneman M, Murphy DR, Kwong See S. (2000). Listening to discourse in distracting settings: the effect of aging. Psychol Aging 15:110–125.
  • Shoben E. (1982). Semantic and lexical decisions. In: Puff CR, ed. Handbook of Research Methods in Human Memory and Cognition. New York: Academic Press.
  • Surprenant AM. (1999). The effect of noise on memory for spoken syllables. Int J Psychol 34:328–333.
  • Tremblay S, Nicholls AP, Alford D, Jones D. (1999). The irrelevant sound effect: does speech play a special role? J Exper Psychol Learn Mem Cogn 6:1750–1754.
  • Tun PA, Wingfield A. (1999). One voice too many: adult age differences in language processing with different types of distracting sounds. J Gerontol 54B:317–327.
  • van Rooij JCGM, Plomp R. (1990). Auditive and cognitive factors in speech perception by elderly listeners. II. Multivariate analysis. J Acoust Soc Am 88:2611–2624.
  • van Rooij JCGM, Plomp R. (1992). Auditive and cognitive factors in speech perception by elderly listeners. III. Additional data and final discussion. J Acoust Soc Am 91:1028–1033.