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Psychol Aging. 2009 Sep;24(3):761-6. doi: 10.1037/a0014802.

Aging, hearing acuity, and the attentional costs of effortful listening.

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  • 1Volen National Center for Complex Systems (MS 013), Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454-9110, USA.


A dual-task interference paradigm was used to investigate the effect of perceptual effort on recall of spoken word lists by young and older adults with good hearing and with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. In addition to poorer recall accuracy, listeners with hearing loss, especially older adults, showed larger secondary task costs while recalling the word lists even though the stimuli were presented at a sound intensity that allowed correct word identification. Findings support the hypothesis that extra effort at the sensory-perceptual level attendant to hearing loss has negative consequences to downstream recall, an effect that may be further magnified with increased age.

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