Recognition of reduced words, context use, and age-related hearing loss

TitleRecognition of reduced words, context use, and age-related hearing loss
Publication TypePresentation
Year of Publication2009
Conference NameDag van de Fonetiek 2009
AuthorsJanse, Esther, and Mirjam Ernestus
PublisherNederlandse Vereniging voor Fonetische Wetenschappen
Conference LocationUtrecht, The Netherlands

Older adults are often claimed to rely more strongly on context effects and linguistic knowledge to compensate for their poorer hearing. As a test case of linguistic knowledge, we investigated recognition of acoustically reduced words that were followed by a word (such as 'hangende') with which it either formed a fixed expression ('hangende pootjes') or not ('hangende planten'). The two research questions were: a) whether older adults show a greater reliance on the following-word context than young adults, and b) whether simulation of hearing loss in young adults (by low-pass filtering the stimuli) would bring about a stronger reliance on the following context. Data analysis (accuracy and RTs) showed that words were better recognised when part of a fixed expression, and that older adults benefited more in RT than young adults (equal benefit in accuracy). The young adults with simulated hearing loss, however, benefited less than the other two groups (both in accuracy and RT). These results suggest that signal degradation does not immediately lead to greater reliance on following-word context.