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HESP Seminar Series: Maureen Shader (HESP)

Time: 
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Location: 
LeFrak 2208

Title: "Older listeners process envelope modulations less effectively than younger listeners for understanding of cochlear-implant simulated speech"

Abstract: 

Cochlear implants (CIs) provide spectrally degraded representations of speech signals, while temporal envelope cues remain intact. The number of CI users over 65 years of age is steadily increasing, but the extent to which older adults with age-related temporal processing deficits make use of temporal envelope cues when spectral cues are degraded is unknown. Current CI speech processing algorithms encode temporal modulations up to ~400 Hz, despite evidence that cues above ~180 Hz do not improve recognition (Stone et al., 2008). In the current study, we evaluated systematically degraded CI-simulated speech understanding in younger and older normal-hearing listeners. Sentence recognition was measured as a function of number of spectral channels (4-16 channels) and envelope modulation frequency (5-1000 Hz) for noise- and sine-vocoded sentences. Results show that on average, younger listeners achieve significantly higher scores than older listeners. Moreover, younger listeners are able to process envelope modulations above 20 Hz significantly better than older listeners, especially for the 6- and 8-channel conditions. These results have implications for the effectiveness of CI speech processing algorithms for older listeners. Speech recognition could be improved for older CI users by increasing the saliency of envelope modulations.