What is it about?
Perceiving speech amid background noise is a situation we commonly encounter. Many of us understand speech without much difficulty in the presence of background noise. This perception is thought to involve a reduction of response to the noise while improving the response to the speech. In this research, we examined if the cortical inhibitory mechanism associated with stimulus redundancy- namely, auditory sensory gating - is related to speech understanding in noisy environments.
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Why is it important?
We found that the brain inhibits redundant information. However, this inhibition was more for non-speech compared to speech stimuli. These results indicate that the human brain prioritises speech over other stimuli. Additionally, an individual's ability to inhibit the redundant (which does not provide additional information) speech stimuli was related to their speech understanding in noise capabilities. Preliminary findings from our study point towards (a ) a specialised processing mechanism for speech and (b) the importance of inhibition of redundant information to understand speech in noise.
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This page is a summary of: Sensory Gating to Speech and Nonspeech Stimulus and Its Relationship to Speech Perception in Noise, American Journal of Audiology, September 2023, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), DOI: 10.1044/2023_aja-23-00094.
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