Examining Age Effects in Auditory Selective Attention in Reverberant Environments
* Presenting author
Using a well-established binaural-listening paradigm, the ability to intentionally switch auditory selective attention was examined under anechoic, low reverberation (0.8 s) and high reverberation (1.75 s) conditions. Young, normal-hearing subjects and elderly, moderately hearing-impaired subjects were tested to analyze influences of the reverberation times and interactions on age effects. Spoken word pairs by two speakers were presented simultaneously to subjects from two of eight azimuth positions. The stimuli were word pairs that consisted of a single number word (i.e., 1 to 9) followed by either the German direction “UP” or “DOWN”. Guided by a visual cue prior to auditory stimulus onset indicating the position of the target speaker, subjects were asked to identify whether the target number was numerically smaller or greater than five and to categorize the direction of the second word. Switch costs (i.e. reaction time differences between a position switch of the target relative to a position repetition) and error rates were dependent on reverberation times and age.