Reading comprehension in quiet and in noise: Effects on immediate and delayed recall in relation to tinnitus and high-frequency hearing thresholds

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Abstract

Background: A common complaint by people with tinnitus is that they experience that the tinnitus causes attention and concentration problems. Previous studies have examined how tinnitus influences cognitive performance on short and intensive cognitive tasks but without proper control of hearing status. Purpose: To examine the impact tinnitus and high-frequency hearing thresholds have on reading comprehension in quiet and in background noise. Research Design: A between-group design with matched control participants. Study Sample: One group of participants with tinnitus (n 5 20) and an age and gender matched control group without tinnitus (n 5 20) participated. Both groups had normal hearing thresholds (20 dB HL at frequencies 0.125 to 8 kHz). Data Collection and Analysis: Measurements were made assessing hearing thresholds and immediate and delayed recall using a reading comprehension test in quiet and in noise. All participants completed the Swedish version of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and participants with tinnitus also completed the Tinnitus Questionnaire. Results: The groups did not differ in immediate nor delayed recall. Accounting for the effect of age, a significant positive correlation was found between best ear high-frequency pure tone average (HF-PTA; 10000, 12500, and 14000 Hz) and the difference score between immediate and delayed recall in noise. Conclusions: Tinnitus seems to have no effect on immediate and delayed recall in quiet or in background noise when hearing status is controlled for. The detrimental effect of background noise on the processes utilized for efficient encoding into long-term memory is larger in participants with better HF-PTA. More specifically, when reading in noise, participants with better HF-PTA seem to recall less information than participants with poorer HF-PTA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-511
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Audiology
Volume29
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Otorhinolaryngology

Keywords

  • Cognitive performance
  • High-frequency hearing
  • Normal hearing
  • Tinnitus

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