Research objective Individuals, especially older adults, have difficulty comprehending speech when the speaker speaks quickly or the speech is produced in a noisy environment. The current study compared speech recognition under conditions of temporal compression and in a noisy environment by examining the average hearing of pure tones, high-frequency hearing thresholds, and hearing differences between the two ears in older adults and examined the factors that affect these.
Subjects and method This study was conducted on 111 adults aged 60 years or older residing in Seoul. A pure tone audiometry (average hearing, high-frequency hearing threshold, and hearing difference between the two ears) and speech audiometry (Speech Reception Threshold [SRT], Word Recognition Score [WRS], and Sentence Recognition Score [SRS]) were performed on the subjects.
Research results Depending on the average hearing threshold, WRS, sentence recognition with 30% time compression (SRS_TC), sentence recognition in noise (SRSinNoise), and sentence recognition in noise and with 30% time compression (SRS_TCinNoise) were found to be statistically significantly higher in the order of individuals with normal hearing > those with mild hearing loss > those with severe hearing loss. There were similar results when the findings were categorised by high-frequency threshold. In terms of hearing difference between the two ears, there was a significant effect on SRT and sentence recognition in noise (SRSinNoise, SRS_TCinNoise) when there was a hearing difference of greater than 10 dB between the two ears. Average hearing had a key effect on speech recognition, with the exception of SRS, while average hearing, age, and high-frequency threshold had effects on sentence recognition in noise.
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