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Neural tracking of attended versus ignored speech is differentially affected by hearing loss
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)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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 117, no 1, 18-27 p.
Keyword [en]
hearing loss, neural tracking, attention, speech-onset envelope, electroencephalography, cross-correlation
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-133644DOI: 10.1152/jn.00527.2016ISI: 000393860400003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-133644DiVA: diva2:1062279
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
In thesis
1. Neural and Cognitive Effects of Hearing Loss on Speech Processing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Neural and Cognitive Effects of Hearing Loss on Speech Processing
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Neurala och kognitiva effekter av hörselnedsättning vid bearbetning av talsignaler
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
Hearing loss, speech processing, electroencephalogram/EEG, working memory, cognitive load, hearing aid, 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:nbn:se:liu:diva-134255 (URN)10.3384/diss-diva-134255 (DOI)9789176856406 (ISBN)
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

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The full text will be freely available from 2018-01-03 16:02
Available from 2018-01-03 16:02

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