What is it about?

Often other sounds make portions of speech inaccessible to a listener, yet people with typical hearing often have few problems with these lost portions, being able to "repair" the speech. As people get older and have greater difficulty understanding speech in background noise, being able to repair speech signals becomes more important. However, not all people can repair speech; people with cochlear implants (many of whom are middle-aged and older) show little ability to repair speech. Therefore, we tested whether older normal-hearing listeners could not repair speech when it was put through simulations of cochlear-implant processing. Contrary to our expectations, the older listeners not only had no problem repairing the speech, they were better at it than younger listeners.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

Since older listeners can more readily repair even cochlear-implant simulated speech, other factors that were not accounted for must explain why real cochlear-implant users have difficulty repairing speech, for example noise-reduction features that are common in cochlear-implant speech processors.


Older listeners may become better at repairing speech through a lifetime of experience of dealing with noise. For some reason, there is something blocking cochlear-implant listeners from using or learning the skill to repair speech. Speech understanding in noise is one of the biggest problems for cochlear-implant users. If we can improve their repair of speech, this will be a major step forward in tackling the problem of noise.

Dr. Matthew J Goupell
University System of Maryland

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Age effects on perceptual restoration of degraded interrupted sentences, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, January 2018, Acoustical Society of America (ASA),
DOI: 10.1121/1.5016968.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page