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J Acoust Soc Am. 1990 Dec;88(6):2611-24.

Auditive and cognitive factors in speech perception by elderly listeners. II: Multivariate analyses.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Free University Hospital, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


In part I of this study [van Rooij et al., J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 86, 1294-1309 (1989)], the validity and manageability of a test battery comprising auditive (sensitivity, frequency resolution, and temporal resolution), cognitive (memory performance, processing speed, and intellectual abilities), and speech perception tests (at the phoneme, spondee, and sentence level) were investigated. In the present article, the results of a selection of these tests for 72 elderly subjects (aged 60-93 years) are analyzed by multivariate statistical techniques. The results show that the deterioration of speech perception in the elderly consists of two statistically independent components: (a) a large component mainly representing the progressive high-frequency hearing loss with age that accounts for approximately two-thirds of the systematic variance of the tests of speech perception and (b) a smaller component (accounting for one-third of the systematic variance of the speech perception tests) mainly representing a general performance decrement due to reduced mental efficiency, which is indicated by a general slowing of performance and a reduced memory capacity. Although both components are correlated with age, it was found that the balance between auditive and cognitive contributions to speech perception performance did not change with age.

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