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Speech-perception training for older adults with hearing loss impacts word recognition and effort

Authors

  • Stefanie E. Kuchinsky,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA
    • Address correspondence to: Stefanie E. Kuchinsky or Mark A. Eckert, Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, 135 Rutledge Ave., MSC 550, Charleston, SC 29425-5500, USA. E-mail: skuchins@umd.edu; eckert@musc.edu

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  • Jayne B. Ahlstrom,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA
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  • Stephanie L. Cute,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA
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  • Larry E. Humes,

    1. Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana, USA
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  • Judy R. Dubno,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA
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  • Mark A. Eckert

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA
    • Address correspondence to: Stefanie E. Kuchinsky or Mark A. Eckert, Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, 135 Rutledge Ave., MSC 550, Charleston, SC 29425-5500, USA. E-mail: skuchins@umd.edu; eckert@musc.edu

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  • We thank Gary Aston-Jones for valuable input on an earlier version of this manuscript. The contributions of William Bologna, Scott Davis, Sarah Hall, Jenny West, and the study participants to data collection are also greatly appreciated. Work was supported in part by a Hearing Health Foundation Centurion Clinical Research Award, the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (P50 DC00422), Indiana University, and was conducted in a facility constructed with support from Research Facilities Improvement Program (C06 RR14516) from the National Center for Research Resources, NIH. This project was also supported by the South Carolina Clinical and Translational (SCTR) Institute, with an academic home at the Medical University of South Carolina, NIH/NCRR (UL1 RR029882).

Abstract

The current pupillometry study examined the impact of speech-perception training on word recognition and cognitive effort in older adults with hearing loss. Trainees identified more words at the follow-up than at the baseline session. Training also resulted in an overall larger and faster peaking pupillary response, even when controlling for performance and reaction time. Perceptual and cognitive capacities affected the peak amplitude of the pupil response across participants but did not diminish the impact of training on the other pupil metrics. Thus, we demonstrated that pupillometry can be used to characterize training-related and individual differences in effort during a challenging listening task. Importantly, the results indicate that speech-perception training not only affects overall word recognition, but also a physiological metric of cognitive effort, which has the potential to be a biomarker of hearing loss intervention outcome.

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