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Psychiatry Investig. 2017 Nov;14(6):786-794. doi: 10.4306/pi.2017.14.6.786. Epub 2017 Nov 7.

Listening to Sentences in Noise: Revealing Binaural Hearing Challenges in Patients with Schizophrenia.

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Audiology Programme, School of Health Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kelantan, Malaysia.
Audiology Programme, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, School of Medicine, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kelantan, Malaysia.



The present, case-control, study investigates binaural hearing performance in schizophrenia patients towards sentences presented in quiet and noise.


Participants were twenty-one healthy controls and sixteen schizophrenia patients with normal peripheral auditory functions. The binaural hearing was examined in four listening conditions by using the Malay version of hearing in noise test. The syntactically and semantically correct sentences were presented via headphones to the randomly selected subjects. In each condition, the adaptively obtained reception thresholds for speech (RTS) were used to determine RTS noise composite and spatial release from masking.


Schizophrenia patients demonstrated significantly higher mean RTS value relative to healthy controls (p=0.018). The large effect size found in three listening conditions, i.e., in quiet (d=1.07), noise right (d=0.88) and noise composite (d=0.90) indicates statistically significant difference between the groups. However, noise front and noise left conditions show medium (d=0.61) and small (d=0.50) effect size respectively. No statistical difference between groups was noted in regards to spatial release from masking on right (p=0.305) and left (p=0.970) ear.


The present findings suggest an abnormal unilateral auditory processing in central auditory pathway in schizophrenia patients. Future studies to explore the role of binaural and spatial auditory processing were recommended.


Auditory processing; Binaural hearing; Schizophrenia; Spatial hearing

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