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The contribution of individual differences in memory span and language ability to spatial release from masking in young children
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building Engineering, Energy Systems and Sustainability Science, Environmental Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4947-4579
Medical Acoustics Group, Institute of Technical Acoustics, Rheinisch Westfalische Technische Hochschule Aachen, Germany.
School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, UK.
Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa.
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2019 (English)In: Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, ISSN 1092-4388, E-ISSN 1558-9102, Vol. 62, no 10, p. 3741-3751Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: Working memory capacity and language ability modulate speech reception; however, the respective roles of peripheral and cognitive processing are unclear. The contribution of individual differences in these abilities to utilization of spatial cues when separating speech from informational and energetic masking backgrounds in children has not yet been determined. Therefore, this study explored whether speech reception in children is modulated by environmental factors, such as the type of background noise and spatial configuration of target and noise sources, and individual differences in the cognitive and linguistic abilities of listeners.

Method: Speech reception thresholds were assessed in 39 children aged 5-7 years in simulated school listening environments. Speech reception thresholds of target sentences spoken by an adult male consisting of number and color combinations were measured using an adaptive procedure, with speech-shaped white noise and single-talker backgrounds that were either collocated (target and back-ground at 0°) or spatially separated (target at 0°, background noise at 90° to the right). Spatial release from masking was assessed alongside memory span and expressive language.

Results and Conclusion: Significant main effect results showed that speech reception thresholds were highest for informational maskers and collocated conditions. Significant interactions indicated that individual differences in memory span and language ability were related to spatial release from masking advantages. Specifically, individual differences in memory span and language were related to the utilization of spatial cues in separated conditions. Language differences were related to auditory stream segregation abilities in collocated conditions that lack helpful spatial cues, pointing to the utilization of language processes to make up for losses in spatial information.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ASHA , 2019. Vol. 62, no 10, p. 3741-3751
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Health Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-30831DOI: 10.1044/2019_JSLHR-S-19-0012ISI: 000493287900009PubMedID: 31619115Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85074185001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-30831DiVA, id: diva2:1365141
Available from: 2019-10-23 Created: 2019-10-23 Last updated: 2019-11-22Bibliographically approved

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MacCutcheon, DouglasLjung, Robert

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