Determination of listening effort of primary-school aged children using a dual-task paradigm with different noise situations
Bachelor Thesis of Burger, Julian
Listening effort has not been intensively researched in primary-school aged (6-10 years) children yet. Listening effort is defined as the attention and the cognitive resources needed to understand speech. To this day only the influence of different noises and SNR on listening effort has beed researched. In this thesis three different noises with two SNRs will be compared against each other at two noise position combinations. In order to assess the children’s listening effort in different noise situations, a child-oriented dual-task paradigm was developed. The experiment was conducted in a mobile hearing booth with 36 normal-hearing children. In this experiment, the primary task is to identify a word presented in noise by hitting the button corresponding to the matching picture out of four pictures shown on a screen. The secondary task includes responding to a flashing light on the same screen, also by hitting a button. Three different noises, speech shaped noise (SSN), irrelevant multitalker babbel (IMTB) and relevant multitalker babbel (RMTB), were tested. It was hypothesized that children require more cognitive resources in a noise condition than in a silent condition when trying to understand speech. Contrary to the hypothesis, the conditions tested had no significant effect on the response time of the secondary task and therefore no effect on the listening effort. However, younger kids generally expend more listening effort than older ones.