|  Home  |  Home VUmc  |   Print this page  |
EMGO+
Betrokken en zorgvuldig - Kennis maakt ons betervisual

Listening effort & cognition

Current projects

  1. The interplay between cognition, speech intelligibility, semantic context and listening effort.


  2. Effort during listening: disentangling the contribution of auditory and cognitive functions to the listening effort during speech comprehension.


  3. LISTening Effort in the European population: a New innovative programme of research and training.


  4. LISTening Effort in the European population: a New innovative programme of research and training.




 

The interplay between cognition, speech intelligibility, semantic context and listening effort.

A.A. Zekveld

 

 Researcher:  A.A. Zekveld, PhD

 

 

 

 

Adriana Zekveld (PhD) performs the 4-year personal VENI project: “The eye as measure of listening effort”. This study is performed at the department of ENT/Audiology and EMGO Institute at the VU University medical centre in Amsterdam. The study focuses on the validation of pupillometric research to study processing load during listening. In this study, pupillometry is combined with neuroimaging methods.

Additionally, Adriana is part-time employed by the Linnaeus Centre HEAD. HEAD stands for HEaring And Deafness; Linnaeus Centre HEAD is part of the Swedish Institute for Disability Research, which builds on a collaboration between the Swedish universities of Linköping and Örebro. For this “study, she performs both behavioral and fMRI research on the influence of speech-to-noise ratio and informative cues on speech intelligibility and brain activation. This study is part of a collaboration between HEAD and the department of ENT/Audiology & the EMGO Institute at the VU University medical centre, Amsterdam.

Research focus (see also publications):

  • Physiological measures of cognitive processing during listening
  • Speech comprehension & cognition
  • Cognitive hearing science
  • Listening effort




 

Effort during listening: disentangling the contribution of auditory and cognitive functions to the listening effort during speech comprehension.

T. Koelewijn

 

 Project leader:  S.E. Kramer, PhD
 Researcher:  T. Koelewijn, PhD
 Period:  15-11-2009 – present

 

Abstract: Hearing loss reduces the capacity to understand speech. A major complaint of hearing impaired people is increased mental distress and fatigue caused by extra effort needed during listening, leading to adverse societal effects like sick-leave. Both auditory and cognitive functions (working memory, linguistic skills) are involved in speech comprehension. It is unknown to what extent each of those factors contributes to listening effort. This project examines their relative contribution using pupil dilatation as an objective measure of mental effort and questionnaires. Young and elderly normally hearing and hearing impaired individuals will participate. Within- and between subject differences will be examined.




 

LISTening Effort in the European population: a New innovative programme of research and training.

B. Ohlenforst

 

 Projectcode:  WC2013-030
 Project leader:  S.E. Kramer, PhD; A. Zekveld, PhD;
 T. Lunner, PhD; Graham Naylor, PhD
 PhD student:  Barbara Ohlenforst, MSc
 Grant:  EU Marie Curie
 Period:  17-3-2014 – present

 

Background
Hearing impairment is a worldwide leading disability compromising speech perception especially under adverse listening conditions such as background noise. As people grow older hearing impairment increases. The consequences are withdrawal from social roles, negatives effects on work performance, increased distress, increased sick leave, early retirement and a higher need for recovery due to increased listening effort and a lack of energy. More conceptual clarification on what listening effort compromises is required to explain the relationship of fatigue and lack of energy in real life. A clear index of listening effort is highly needed for the hearing aid industry to implement further inside on the concept of listening effort in future development activities and research. Pupillometry was previously shown to be a well established tool used to successfully measure cognitive processing load during a listening task as an objective index of listening effort. Within the research project LISTEN 607373 pupillometry measures will be further developed to assess whether and to which extend hearing aid signal processing can help to decrease listening effort.


Objectives
This European Industrial Doctorial (EID) research project aims to create a link between listening effort measured within a laboratory setup and the perception of fatigue and lack of energy in real life listening situations. The evidence about the effect of hearing aid technologies on speech perception and listening effort, including the role of individual cognitive abilities will be determined. With respect to everyday listening conditions, the effect of hearing impairment on the measured pupil response, measuring the peak pupil dilation (PPD) and the pupillary light reflex (PLR), will be assessed.


Method
The performance during a speech recognition task for normal hearing and hearing impaired adults will be compared. For the hearing impaired participants frequency shaping will be applied, such as in wearable hearing aids, to account for their individual loss of hearing. Different masking conditions such as stationary noise, competing talkers or fluctuating noise will be presented over a large range of intelligibility levels in a competitive manner with the speech signal. The effect of audibility and different hearing aid technologies such as noise reduction and amplitude compression will be implemented to examine the effects on speech perception and listening effort, taking cognition into account.


Hypothesis
It is expected that increasing audibility will decrease the PPD and that different PPDs will be measured depending on the listeners individual cognitive abilities. Furthermore, listeners with large cognitive capacity are assumed to achieve better performance scores when noise is presented in complex listening conditions, such as a competing talker or fast compression, compared to listeners with smaller cognitive capacity. It is expected that when extra cognitive capacity is put into a task, listening effort decreases. Listeners with high cognitive capacity are therefore assumed to show relatively large PPDs.




 

LISTening Effort in the European population: a New innovative programme of research and training.

Y. Wang

 

 Projectcode:  WC2013-031
 Project leader:  S.E. Kramer, PhD; A. Zekveld, PhD;
 T. Lunner, PhD; Graham Naylor, PhD
 PhD student:  Yang Wang, MSc
 Grant:  EU Marie Curie
 Period:  17-3-2014 – present

 

Study Background:

Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent European disabilities. It is associated with increased levels of distress, fatigue and need for recovery. This causes withdrawal from major social roles, such as the occupational role and imposes a risk for the ageing European population.


Objectives

  1. further strength the basis for the application of pupillometry (i.e., the measurement of pupil dilation) within the field of Audiology.
  2. develop new techniques to measure the pupil light reflex and disassociate the activity of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system in listening effort with the help of pupil light reflex.
  3. examine which current and new hearing aid technologies can successfully decrease listening effort required during speech perception.

Study design

The main study parameters in the study are:

  1. The percentage of auditory sentences perceived correctly,
  2. the peak pupil dilation (PPD) in response to the cognitive processing load during listening to speech presented in a background of interfering speech and
  3. the pupil light reflex (PLR), the pupil response to brief exposure to light.

The PPD will be expressed relative to the pupil size during listening to interfering speech or silence (baseline pupil size). We will assess to what extent the speech and signal characteristics (e.g., signal levels) influence the PPD. We will additionally assess the pupil light reflex (PLR; the constriction of the pupil when exposed to bright light as compared to darkness). We will also examine group effects (e.g., effects of hearing loss) on the test performances, PPD and PLR. A total number of 154 persons (both normally hearing and hearing impaired group) will be tested over the course of 4 years. Subjects additionally perform working memory and verbal inference-making tests and complete questionnaires about daily-life (hearing) functioning and stress. We will examine the correlation coefficients between the test performances and speech intelligibility (percentage correct word repetition) and the pupil parameters. The influence of several hearing aid algorithms on speech comprehension and the PPD during listening will be assessed in listeners with hearing loss as well.



© VU medical center Privacy | Disclaimer | Copyright | Webredactie