Perspectives, SIG 6, Vol. 1, Part 2, 2016
This Perspectives focused on cognition and hearing abilities in adults. We shared how working memory capacity and attention should be considered when selecting and programming amplification and providing aural rehabilitation for individuals with hearing loss. Individuals with higher working memory capacity are able to utilize fast-acting compression settings to aid in speech understanding in complex listening environments, while those with lower working memory can experience negative repercussions from such settings. Additionally, clinicians can counsel on cognitive effects on speech understanding and involve top-down strategies in their auditory training.
We also examined the effects of aging on psychoacoustic performance, noting an association between cognition and discrimination abilities in older adults. Factors like impaired temporal processing and reduced frequency selectivity impact hearing abilities of adult clients in the clinic, but are rarely assessed in a standard hearing evaluation. Finally, we examine why pure-tone threshold testing is insufficient at predicting hearing handicap in the adults with minimal to mild hearing loss, and how to assess which of these individuals would benefit from rehabilitation and/or amplification. Factors such as previous noise exposure, age, working memory, ability to use conversational context, and speed of auditory processing are important to consider.
You will be able
- explain how working memory capacity can influence selection of appropriate hearing aid processing settings and guide aural rehabilitation
- describe age-related effects on auditory abilities of adults
- obtain a more comprehensive hearing profile and treatment plan for adults who report significant hearing difficulty but have minimal to mild hearing loss based on pure-tone testing
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