Who is speaking? An investigation on talker’s voice perception in older adults.

    Project: Research project

    Project Details

    Description

    Background:
    It is widely acknowledged that the speech signal encompasses multiple types of information, including the linguistic content, emotion and the speaker's identity. Extensive research has provided substantial evidence for the interplay and reciprocal influence among these aspects during speech perception. While significant attention has been devoted to investigating the perceptual processes related to the linguistic component and emotion, there remains a dearth
    of studies focusing on the perception of talker information in the aging population.
    Objectives:
    The primary objective of this project is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the distinct challenges and factors that contribute to talker perception deficits among older adults with normal hearing and those with hearing loss. Specifically, the aims are to (a) investigate the influence of language familiarity on talk processing in older adults; (b) identify the impact of auditory emotional cues on the perception of talkers’ voice, and (c) explore the role of cognitive
    function in these processes.
    Study Design:
    Three groups of participants will be recruited, i.e., older adults with normal hearing, older adults with hearing loss and younger listeners with normal hearing. Experiment set 1 will first compare talker discrimination performance in their native language (Cantonese) and in a language that the participants don't understand (Arabic). It will further assess their talker identification ability in the two conditions after explicit voice training session. Furthermore,
    three cognitive tests, namely the Stroop test, Digit Span test, and Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task, will be administered to assess the extent to which selective attention, working memory, and auditory processing speed can account for the performance in both talker discrimination and identification tasks. In Experiment set 2, participants will be asked to distinguish the talkers’ identity in three conditions where the stimuli contain three different emotions, i.e., happy, sad and neutral. The same set of cognitive tests as in experiment set 1 will be administered to examine the relationship between talker processing and cognitive functions.
    Project impact:
    This project will reveal how the contributing factors, including aging, age-related hearing loss, language familiarity, and emotional cues, impact speaker perception. The findings can be utilized to develop effective diagnostic tools and rehabilitative strategies to alleviate the myriad of manifestations of aging and age-related hearing loss. Such new knowledge can further be employed in improving hearing aids design for older adults.
    StatusNot started
    Effective start/end date1/01/2531/12/26

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