Hearing loss, aging, and speech perception in reverberation and noise

K. S. Helfer*, L. A. Wilber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

207 Scopus citations


The present investigation examined the effect of reverberation and noise on the perception of nonsense syllables by four groups of subjects: younger (≤35 years of age) and older (>60 years of age) listeners with mild-to-moderate sensorineural hearing loss; younger, normal-hearing individuals; and older adults with minimal peripheral hearing loss. Copies of the Nonsense Syllable Test (Resnick, Dubno, Huffnung, and Levitt, 1975) were re-recorded under four levels of reverberation (0.0, 0.6, 0.9, 1.3 s) in quiet and in cafeteria noise at + 10 dB S:N. Results suggest that both age and amount of pure-tone hearing loss contribute to senescent changes in the ability to understand noisy, reverberant speech: pure-tone threshold and age were correlated negatively with performance in reverberation plus noise, although age and pure-tone hearing loss were not correlated with each other. Further, many older adults with minimal amounts of peripheral hearing loss demonstrated difficulty understanding distorted consonants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-155
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Speech and Hearing Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990


  • Aging
  • reverberation
  • speech perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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