Despite a vast literature on how speech intelligibility is affected by hearing loss and advanced age, remarkably little is known about the perception of talker-related information in these populations. Here, we assessed the ability of listeners to detect whether a change in talker occurred while listening to and identifying sentence-length sequences of words. Participants were recruited in four groups that differed in their age (younger/older) and hearing status (normal/impaired). The task was conducted in quiet or in a background of same-sex two-talker speech babble. We found that age and hearing loss had detrimental effects on talker change detection, in addition to their expected effects on word recognition. We also found subtle differences in the effects of age and hearing loss for trials in which the talker changed vs trials in which the talker did not change. These findings suggest that part of the difficulty encountered by older listeners, and by listeners with hearing loss, when communicating in group situations, may be due to a reduced ability to identify and discriminate between the participants in the conversation.


Best, V., Ahlstrom, J.B., Mason, C.R., Perrachione, T.K., Kidd, G., & Dubno, J.R. (2024). Talker change detection by listeners varying in age and hearing loss. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 155, 2482-2491.PubMedPDF

Access the paper