Effects of simulated cataracts on speech intelligibility

Morris, Nichole L., Chaparro, Alex, Downs, David, & Wood, Joanne M. (2012) Effects of simulated cataracts on speech intelligibility. Vision Research, 66, pp. 49-54.

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Abstract

Limited research is available on how well visual cues integrate with auditory cues to improve speech intelligibility in persons with visual impairments, such as cataracts. We investigated whether simulated cataracts interfered with participants’ ability to use visual cues to help disambiguate a spoken message in the presence of spoken background noise. We tested 21 young adults with normal visual acuity and hearing sensitivity. Speech intelligibility was tested under three conditions: auditory only with no visual input, auditory-visual with normal viewing, and auditory-visual with simulated cataracts. Central Institute for the Deaf (CID) Everyday Speech Sentences were spoken by a live talker, mimicking a pre-recorded audio track, in the presence of pre-recorded four-person background babble at a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of -13 dB. The talker was masked to the experimental conditions to control for experimenter bias. Relative to the normal vision condition, speech intelligibility was significantly poorer, [t (20) = 4.17, p < .01, Cohen’s d =1.0], in the simulated cataract condition. These results suggest that cataracts can interfere with speech perception, which may occur through a reduction in visual cues, less effective integration or a combination of the two effects. These novel findings contribute to our understanding of the association between two common sensory problems in adults: reduced contrast sensitivity associated with cataracts and reduced face-to-face communication in noise.

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ID Code: 53089
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Cataracts; Speech perception; Aging; Speech intelligibility
DOI: 10.1016/j.visres.2012.06.003
ISSN: 0042-6989
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > OPTOMETRY AND OPHTHALMOLOGY (111300)
Divisions: Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Vision Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Vision Research, [VOL 66, (2012)] DOI: 10.1016/j.visres.2012.06.003
Deposited On: 13 Aug 2012 23:11
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2012 04:30

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