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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 58  |  Page : 100--105

Temporal and speech processing skills in normal hearing individuals exposed to occupational noise

1 Department of Audiology, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Manasagangothri, Mysore, India
2 Lecturer (Audiology and Speech Language Pathology) in Navodaya Medical College, Raichur, Karnataka, India
3 National Center for Audiology, University of Western Ontario London, Ontario, Canada

Correspondence Address:
U Ajith Kumar
Kasturba Medical College (A constitiuent of Manipal University), Attavara, Mangalore 575 001, India

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.97252

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Prolonged exposure to high levels of occupational noise can cause damage to hair cells in the cochlea and result in permanent noise-induced cochlear hearing loss. Consequences of cochlear hearing loss on speech perception and psychophysical abilities have been well documented. Primary goal of this research was to explore temporal processing and speech perception Skills in individuals who are exposed to occupational noise of more than 80 dBA and not yet incurred clinically significant threshold shifts. Contribution of temporal processing skills to speech perception in adverse listening situation was also evaluated. A total of 118 participants took part in this research. Participants comprised three groups of train drivers in the age range of 30-40 (n= 13), 41 50 ( = 13), 41-50 (n = 9), and 51-60 (n = 6) years and their non-noise-exposed counterparts (n = 30 in each age group). Participants of all the groups including the train drivers had hearing sensitivity within 25 dB HL in the octave frequencies between 250 and 8 kHz. Temporal processing was evaluated using gap detection, modulation detection, and duration pattern tests. Speech recognition was tested in presence multi-talker babble at -5dB SNR. Differences between experimental and control groups were analyzed using ANOVA and independent sample t-tests. Results showed a trend of reduced temporal processing skills in individuals with noise exposure. These deficits were observed despite normal peripheral hearing sensitivity. Speech recognition scores in the presence of noise were also significantly poor in noise-exposed group. Furthermore, poor temporal processing skills partially accounted for the speech recognition difficulties exhibited by the noise-exposed individuals. These results suggest that noise can cause significant distortions in the processing of suprathreshold temporal cues which may add to difficulties in hearing in adverse listening conditions.


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