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Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2018 Dec;18(12):1603-1608. doi: 10.1111/ggi.13535. Epub 2018 Oct 16.

Effect of noise and reverberation on speech recognition and listening effort for older adults.

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Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, Graduate School, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Korea.
Division of Speech Pathology and Audiology, College of Natural Sciences, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Korea.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Hallym University Dongtan Scared Heart Hospital, Hwaseong, Korea.



The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the speech recognition ability and degree of listening effort for older adults in noisy and reverberating environments.


A total of 80 participants (40 older and 40 younger adults) participated in a sentence recognition test under 20 conditions with four levels of background noise and five levels of reverberation time. In each condition, the degree of listening effort was self-reported using a 5-point Likert scale.


The older and younger groups showed that both the error percentage of the sentence recognition task and scale of the listening effort increased as the background noise and reverberation time increased. In the sentence recognition task, the older group was more affected by the reverberation condition than the noisy background compared with their younger counterparts. For the listening effort, the older group had higher scales than the younger group in all conditions, thereby explaining that they required significant effort during the listening task.


The older adults had poorer speech perception ability and required more listening effort than their younger counterparts in all conditions. Reverberation reversely significantly affected the speech recognition and listening effort for the older adults when compared with the background noise, suggesting that an appropriate level of noise and reverberation should be considered for comfort and a less stressful listening environment for the older adult population. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2018; 18: 1603-1608.


aging; background noise; listening effort; reverberation; speech recognition

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