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Neural and Cognitive Effects of Hearing Loss on Speech Processing
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Neuro and Inflammation Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Eriksholm Research Centre. (Technical audiology)
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Neurala och kognitiva effekter av hörselnedsättning vid bearbetning av talsignaler (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Understanding speech in the presence of noise can be difficult, especially when suffering from a hearing loss. This thesis examined behavioural and electrophysiological measures of speech processing with the aim of establishing how they were influenced by hearing loss (internal degradation) and listening condition (external degradation). The hypothesis that more internal and external degradation of a speech signal would result in higher working memory (WM) involvement was investigated in four studies. The behavioural measure of speech recognition consistently decreased with worse hearing, whereas lower WM capacity only resulted in poorer speech recognition when sound were spatially co-located. Electrophysiological data (EEG) recorded during speech processing, revealed that worse hearing was associated with an increase in inhibitory alpha activity (~10 Hz). This indicates that listeners with worse hearing experienced a higher degree of WM involvement during the listening task. When increasing the level of background noise, listeners with poorer hearing exhibited a breakdown in alpha activity, suggesting that these listeners reached a ceiling at which no more WM resources could be released through neural inhibition. Worse hearing was also associated with a reduced ability to selectively attend to one of two simultaneous talkers, brought on by a reduced neural inhibition of the to-be-ignored speech. Increasing the level of background noise reduced the ability to neurally track the to-be-attended speech. That internal and external degradation affected the tracking of ignored and attended speech, respectively, indicates that the two speech streams were neurally processed as independent objects. This thesis demonstrates for the first time that hearing loss causes changes in the induced neural activity during speech processing. In the last paper of the thesis, it is tentatively suggested that neural activity can be utilized from electrodes positioned in the ear canal (EarEEG) for adapting hearing-aid processing to suite the individual listeners and situation.

Abstract [sv]

Att förstå tal i brus kan vara svårt, speciellt när man lider av en hörselnedsättning. Denna avhandling undersöker beteende- och elektrofysiologiska data med föremålet att bestämma hur de påverkas av hörselskada (intern försämring) och lyssningssituation (extern försämring). Hypotesen att båda intern och extern försämring av talsignalen resulterar i mer aktivering av arbetsminnet under bearbetning av talsignaler har undersökts i fyra studier. Beteendedata visade att talförståelse försämrades med större hörselnedsättning, medan lägre arbetsminneskapacitet endast resulterade i sämre talförståelse när ljudkällorna inte var rumsligt sammanfallande. Elektrofysiologiska mätningar (EEG) gjorda under bearbetning av tal, visade at sämre hörsel associerades med högre inhibitorisk alfa-aktivitet (~10 Hz). Detta indikerar att personer med sämre hörsel upplevde en högre involvering av arbetsminnet under lyssningsuppgiften. Då nivån av bakgrundsljud höjdes, visade personer med sämre hörsel ett sammanbrott av alfaaktiviteten, vilket tyder på att de nådde ett tak där ytterligare arbetsminnes-resurser inte kunde frigöras genom neural inhibition. Sämre hörsel var också förknippat med en reducerad förmåga till at fokusera uppmärksamheten på en av två samtidiga talare, förorsakat av en reducerad förmåga till neuralt att undertrycka den störande talsignalen. En ökning av nivån av bakgrundsljud minskade förmågan att inkoda den relevante talsignalen. Att intern och extern försämring påverkade respektive inkodning av störande och relevant tal, indikerar att de två tal-strömma är neuralt behandlas som oavhängiga objekt. Denna avhandling demonstrerar för första gången att hörselskada förorsakar ändringar i den inducerade neurale aktiviteten under bearbetningen av talsignaler. I avhandlingens sista artikel förslås det preliminärt att neural aktivitet kan upptas från elektroder placerade i hörselgången som kan användas till att kontrollera hörapparat signalbehandling.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2017. , 70 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1552Studies from the Swedish Institute for Disability Research, ISSN 1650-1128 ; 81
Keyword [en]
Hearing loss, speech processing, electroencephalogram/EEG, working memory, cognitive load, hearing aid
Keyword [sv]
Hörselnedsättning, bearbetning av tal, elektroencefalogram/EEG, arbetsminne, kognitiv belastning, hörapparat
National Category
Otorhinolaryngology Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Neurosciences Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-134255DOI: 10.3384/diss-diva-134255ISBN: 9789176856406 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-134255DiVA: diva2:1072344
Public defence
2017-03-16, Elsa Brändström-salen, Campus US, Norra entrén, ingång 7, plan 9, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Funded by the Oticon Foundation. Project number: 11-2757.

Available from: 2017-02-20 Created: 2017-01-31 Last updated: 2017-02-21Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Danish Reading Span data from 283 hearing-aid users, including a sub-group analysis of their relationship to speech-in-noise performance
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Danish Reading Span data from 283 hearing-aid users, including a sub-group analysis of their relationship to speech-in-noise performance
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Audiology, ISSN 1499-2027, E-ISSN 1708-8186, Vol. 55, no 4, 254-261 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: This study provides descriptive statistics of the Danish reading span (RS) test for hearing-impaired adults. The combined effect of hearing loss, RS score, and age on speech-in-noise performance in different spatial settings was evaluated in a subset of participants. Design: Data from published and unpublished studies were re-analysed. Data regarding speech-in-noise performance with co-located or spatially separated sound sources were available for a subset of participants. Study sample: RS scores from 283 hearing-impaired participants were extracted from past studies, and 239 of these participants had completed a speech-in-noise test. Results: RS scores (mean = 41.91%, standard deviation = 11.29%) were related to age (p <0.01), but not pure-tone average (PTA) (p = 0.29). Speech-in-noise performance for co-located sound sources was related to PTA and RS score (both p < 0.01, adjusted R-squared = 0.226). Performance for spatially separated sounds was related to PTA (p < 0.01, adjusted R-squared = 0.10) but not RS score (p = 0.484). We found no differences between the standardized coefficients of the two regression models. Conclusions: The distribution of RS scores indicated a high test difficulty. We found that age should be controlled when RS scores are compared across populations. The experimental setup of the speech-in-noise test may influence the relationship between performance and RS score.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2016
Keyword
Reading span; hearing impairment; spatially distributed vs. co-located sound sources; speech-in-noise; working memory
National Category
Otorhinolaryngology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-126496 (URN)10.3109/14992027.2015.1125533 (DOI)000371744400008 ()26836955 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2016-03-29 Created: 2016-03-29 Last updated: 2017-04-06Bibliographically approved
2. Hearing loss impacts neural alpha oscillations under adverse listening conditions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hearing loss impacts neural alpha oscillations under adverse listening conditions
Show others...
2015 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 6, no 177Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Degradations in external, acoustic stimulation have long been suspected to increase the load on working memory (WM). One neural signature of WM load is enhanced power of alpha oscillations (6–12 Hz). However, it is unknown to what extent common internal, auditory degradation, that is, hearing impairment, affects the neural mechanisms of WM when audibility has been ensured via amplification. Using an adapted auditory Sternberg paradigm, we varied the orthogonal factors memory load and background noise level, while the electroencephalogram was recorded. In each trial, participants were presented with 2, 4, or 6 spoken digits embedded in one of three different levels of background noise. After a stimulus-free delay interval, participants indicated whether a probe digit had appeared in the sequence of digits. Participants were healthy older adults (62–86 years), with normal to moderately impaired hearing. Importantly, the background noise levels were individually adjusted and participants were wearing hearing aids to equalize audibility across participants. Irrespective of hearing loss (HL), behavioral performance improved with lower memory load and also with lower levels of background noise. Interestingly, the alpha power in the stimulus-free delay interval was dependent on the interplay between task demands (memory load and noise level) and HL; while alpha power increased with HL during low and intermediate levels of memory load and background noise, it dropped for participants with the relatively most severe HL under the highest memory load and background noise level. These findings suggest that adaptive neural mechanisms for coping with adverse listening conditions break down for higher degrees of HL, even when adequate hearing aid amplification is in place.

Keyword
alpha oscillations, hearing loss, hearing aid, cognition, working memory
National Category
Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-114641 (URN)10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00177 (DOI)000349597100001 ()25745410 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2015-03-02 Created: 2015-03-02 Last updated: 2017-04-06
3. Neural tracking of attended versus ignored speech is differentially affected by hearing loss
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Neural tracking of attended versus ignored speech is differentially affected by hearing loss
2017 (English)In: Journal of Neurophysiology, ISSN 0022-3077, E-ISSN 1522-1598, Vol. 117, no 1, 18-27 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Hearing loss manifests as a reduced ability to understand speech, particularly in multitalker situations. In these situations, younger normal-hearing listeners' brains are known to track attended speech through phase-locking of neural activity to the slow-varying envelope of the speech. This study investigates how hearing loss, compensated by hearing aids, affects the neural tracking of the speech-onset envelope in elderly participants with varying degree of hearing loss (n = 27, 62–86 yr; hearing thresholds 11–73 dB hearing level). In an active listening task, a to-be-attended audiobook (signal) was presented either in quiet or against a competing to-be-ignored audiobook (noise) presented at three individualized signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs). The neural tracking of the to-be-attended and to-be-ignored speech was quantified through the cross-correlation of the electroencephalogram (EEG) and the temporal envelope of speech. We primarily investigated the effects of hearing loss and SNR on the neural envelope tracking. First, we found that elderly hearing-impaired listeners' neural responses reliably track the envelope of to-be-attended speech more than to-be-ignored speech. Second, hearing loss relates to the neural tracking of to-be-ignored speech, resulting in a weaker differential neural tracking of to-be-attended vs. to-be-ignored speech in listeners with worse hearing. Third, neural tracking of to-be-attended speech increased with decreasing background noise. Critically, the beneficial effect of reduced noise on neural speech tracking decreased with stronger hearing loss. In sum, our results show that a common sensorineural processing deficit, i.e., hearing loss, interacts with central attention mechanisms and reduces the differential tracking of attended and ignored speech.

Keyword
hearing loss, neural tracking, attention, speech-onset envelope, electroencephalography, cross-correlation
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-133644 (URN)10.1152/jn.00527.2016 (DOI)000393860400003 ()
Note

Funding agencies: European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant; Volkswagen foundation

Available from: 2017-01-05 Created: 2017-01-05 Last updated: 2017-04-06
4. Cognitive Hearing Aids? - Insights and Possibilities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Cognitive Hearing Aids? - Insights and Possibilities
2015 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The working memory plays an important role in successfully overcoming adverse listening conditions and should consequently be considered when designing and testing hearing aids. A number of studies have established the relationship between hearing in noise and working memory involvement, but with the Sentence-final Word Identification and Recall (SWIRL) test, it is possible to show that working memory is also involved in listening under favorable conditions and that noise reduction has a positive influence in situation with very little noise. Although the capacity of the working memory is a finite individual size, its involvement can differ with fatigue and other factors and individualization of hearing aids should take this into account to obtain the best performance. A way of individually adapting hearing aids is based on changes in the electrical activity of the brain (EEG). Here we present the possibilities that arise from using EEG and show that ear-mounted electrodes is able to record useful EEG that can be explored for individualization of hearing aids. Such an adaptation could be done based on changes in the electrical activity of the brain (EEG). Here we present the possibilities that arise from using EEG and show that ear-mounted electrodes is able to record useful EEG that can be explored for individualization of hearing aids.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Institute of Physics (AIP), 2015
Series
AIP Conference Proceedings, ISSN 0094-243X
National Category
Otorhinolaryngology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-126560 (URN)10.1063/1.4939399 (DOI)000372065400086 ()978-0-7354-1350-4 (ISBN)
Conference
12th international workshop in Mechanics of Hearing, Cape Sounio, Greece, 23-29 May 2014
Available from: 2016-03-30 Created: 2016-03-30 Last updated: 2017-02-07

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