CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Int Arch Otorhinolaryngol
DOI: 10.1055/s-0044-1779432
Original Research

Study of Speech Recognition in Noise and Working Memory in Adults and Elderly with Normal Hearing

1   Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, SP, Brazil
1   Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, SP, Brazil
› Author Affiliations
Funding None.


Introduction In clinical practice, patients with the same degree and configuration of hearing loss, or even with normal audiometric thresholds, present substantially different performances in terms of speech perception. This probably happens because other factors, in addition to auditory sensitivity, interfere with speech perception. Thus, studies are needed to investigate the performance of listeners in unfavorable listening conditions to identify the processes that interfere in the speech perception of these subjects.

Objective To verify the influence of age, temporal processing, and working memory on speech recognition in noise.

Method Thirty-eight adult and elderly individuals with normal hearing thresholds participated in the study. Participants were divided into two groups: The adult group (G1), composed of 10 individuals aged 21 to 33 years, and the elderly group (G2), with 28 participants aged 60 to 81 years. They underwent audiological assessment with the Portuguese Sentence List Test, Gaps-in-Noise test, Digit Span Memory test, Running Span Task, Corsi Block-Tapping test, and Visual Pattern test.

Results The Running Span Task score proved to be a statistically significant predictor of the listening-in-noise variable. This result showed that the difference in performance between groups G1 and G2 in relation to listening in noise is due not only to aging, but also to changes in working memory.

Conclusion The study showed that working memory is a predictor of listening performance in noise in individuals with normal hearing, and that this task can provide important information for investigation in individuals who have difficulty hearing in unfavorable environments.

Publication History

Received: 24 April 2023

Accepted: 27 December 2023

Article published online:
16 February 2024

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