Rapid perceptual learning of time-compressed speech and the perception of natural fast speech in older adults with presbycusis
Older people, especially ones with age-related hearing loss (ARHL), often have difficulties understanding naturally fast speech (NFS). This difficulty has been attributed to both sensory and cognitive factors. We now ask if rapid perceptual learning, assessed with a time-compressed speech (TCS) task, also contributes to the perception of NFS in older adults with ARHL, while accounting for the potential contribution of other cognitive factors. 45 participants with and without experience with hearing-aids completed the study. Significant rapid perceptual learning of TCS occurred within the first 20 sentences. This learning was significantly and positively correlated with NFS perception. Additionally, the perception of NFS was positively associated with vocabulary and memory span and negatively correlated with hearing thresholds. We found no significant differences between experienced-users of hearing-aids and non-users. Findings suggest that declines in rapid perceptual learning may play a role in the perception of NFS in people with ARHL, which is additional to the contribution of other cognitive variables.
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