This study investigated how age and hearing loss influence the misperceptions made when listening to sentences in babble. Open-set responses to final words in sentences with low and high context were analyzed for younger adults with normal hearing and older adults with normal or impaired hearing. All groups performed similarly in overall accuracy but differed in error type. Misperceptions for all groups were analyzed according to phonological and semantic properties. Comparisons between groups indicated that misperceptions for older adults were more influenced by phonological factors. Furthermore, older adults with hearing loss omitted more responses. Overall, across all groups, results suggest that phonological confusions most explain misperceptions in low context sentences. In high context sentences, the meaningful sentence context appears to provide predictive cues that reduce misperceptions. When misperceptions do occur, responses tend to have greater semantic similarity and lesser phonological similarity to the target, compared to low context sentences. In this way, semantic similarity may index a postdictive process by which ambiguities due to phonological confusions are resolved to conform to the semantic context of the sentence. These patterns demonstrate that context, age, and hearing loss affect the misperceptions, and potential sentence interpretation, made when listening to sentences in babble.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics