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Hearing loss impacts neural alpha oscillations under adverse listening conditions
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Neuro and Inflammation Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Linköping University, The Swedish Institute for Disability Research. Eriksholm Research Centre, Snekkersten, Denmark, . (Linnaeus Centre HEAD)
International Max Planck Research School on Neuroscience of Communication, Leipzig, Germany, Max Planck Research Group “Auditory Cognition”, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany.
Max Planck Research Group “Auditory Cognition”, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany.
Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Neuro and Inflammation Science. Linköping University, The Swedish Institute for Disability Research. (Linnaeus Centre HEAD)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3350-8997
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2015 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 6, no 177
Keyword [en]
alpha oscillations, hearing loss, hearing aid, cognition, working memory
National Category
Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-114641DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00177ISI: 000349597100001PubMedID: 25745410OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-114641DiVA: diva2:791656
Available from: 2015-03-02 Created: 2015-03-02 Last updated: 2017-12-04
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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Petersen, Eline BStenfelt, StefanLunner, Thomas

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