SHS Proseminar Speaker - 11/17/2017

The cognitive costs of degraded hearing in children

grieco-calub-150.jpgTina M. Grieco-Calub, Ph.D., CCC-A
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Northwestern University

November 17, 2017
12:00 -  12:50 PM
1090 Lincoln Hall

It is commonly accepted that degradation of an auditory input impairs a listener’s ability to perceive speech. One area of inquiry that my research lab is exploring is the extent to which degraded auditory input impacts behavior beyond speech perception in children. The motivation for this work is to determine how children, who have immature cognitive and language abilities, navigate adverse listening environments. In this talk, I will present data from two studies that have tested the effects of degraded speech on performance. In the first study, we tested children’s ability to multitask in the presence of degraded speech. Children performed a dual-task paradigm, whereby they completed a visual monitoring task while simultaneously attempting to verbally recall spectrally-degraded speech stimuli. We found that children’s accuracy, but not speed of response, declined on the visual monitoring task as the fidelity of the speech input declined. In the second study, we asked how adverse listening environments altered performance on a non-auditory task. Children performed a visual-verbal working memory task in the presence of speech and non-speech competitors. We found speech competitors were unique in their ability to disrupt performance. The discussion of both studies will highlight the potential cognitive costs of degraded speech perception and ways to assess these in children.