Scientists and clinicians from universities, medical centers, and businesses gathered at the interdisciplinary Aging and Speech Communication Conference in November 2019. The 4-day conference featured 75 poster and podium presentations; now, Forum Guest Editor David A. Eddins is bringing six of those presentations to readers in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research (JSLHR).
After an introduction by Eddins, the first two articles focus on the impacts of age on spoken language and language use. Cho et al. used modern computational methods to code natural utterances by young and older people with normal speech, language, and hearing in order to show the impact of age and gender on healthy speech. Next, Harel-Arbeli and colleagues studied the ability of older adults to maintain high levels of spoken language comprehension despite auditory and cognitive decline typically associated with aging.
Adults with age-related hearing loss in addition to cognitive impairment and other age-related comorbidities are the subject of the next article by Mamo and Wheeler. It is important to note that the authors weren’t able to determine any statistical association between cognitive impairment and hearing loss.
The next two articles look at changes in auditory perception with age. McLaughlin et al. offered younger and older participants more money to complete more effortful listening tasks, finding that older adults were more likely to accept less money to take on easier listening tasks. Next, Shen investigated the impact of dynamic pitch cues, finding that they negatively affected speech recognition performance in both younger and older listeners and that the negative effect increased with age.
Jerker Rönnberg served as the keynote speaker of the 2019 conference, so it’s fitting that the forum ends with an article by him and his colleagues. In the article, the authors describe how working memory, episodic long-term memory, and semantic long-term memory contribute to language processing. Eddins calls this article a “must-read for those who have not carefully considered cognitive aging and the co-occurring impacts of aging and hearing loss on auditory perception and speech communication” (Eddins, 2021, p. 300).
We hope you enjoy this sample of articles from the 8th Aging and Speech Communication Conference. We’d like to thank Dr. Eddins for putting together this JSLHR forum. You can explore the entire issue here or check out the individual articles below.
Explore the Forum
Cho, S., Nevler, N., Shellikeri, S., Parjane, N., Irwin, D. J., Ryant, N., Ash, S., Cieri, C., Liberman, M., & Grossman, M. (2021). Lexical and acoustic characteristics of young and older healthy adults. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 64(2), 302–314. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_JSLHR-19-00384
Eddins, D. A. (2021). Select papers from the 8th Aging and Speech Communication Conference. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 64(2), 299–301. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_JSLHR-21-00031
Harel-Arbeli, T., Wingfield, A., Palgi, Y., & Ben-David, B. M. (2021). Age-related differences in the online processing of spoken semantic context and the effect of semantic competition: Evidence from eye gaze. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 64(2), 315–327. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_JSLHR-20-00142
Mamo, S. K., & Wheeler, K. A. (2021). The combined burden of hearing loss and cognitive impairment in a group care setting for older adults. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 64(2), 328–336. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_JSLHR-20-00068
McLaughlin, D. J., Braver, T. S., & Peelle, J. E. (2021). Measuring the subjective cost of listening effort using a discounting task. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 64(2), 337–347. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_JSLHR-20-00086
Rönnberg, J., Holmer, E., & Rudner, M. (2021). Cognitive hearing science: Three memory systems, two approaches, and the ease of language understanding model. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 64(2), 359–370. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_JSLHR-20-00007
Shen, J. (2021). Older listeners’ perception of speech with strengthened and weakened dynamic pitch cues in background noise. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 64(2), 348–358. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_JSLHR-20-00116