Article  |   July 2008
Effect of Minimal Hearing Loss on Children’s Ability to Multitask in Quiet and in Noise
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Brittany McFadden
    Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Andrea Pittman
    Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Contact author: Andrea Pittman, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 870102, Tempe, AZ 85287-0102. E-mail: andrea.pittman@asu.edu.
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Hearing Disorders
Article   |   July 2008
Effect of Minimal Hearing Loss on Children’s Ability to Multitask in Quiet and in Noise
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools July 2008, Vol.39, 342-351. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2008/032)
History: Accepted 28 Nov 2007 , Received 05 Jul 2007 , Revised 11 Sep 2007
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools July 2008, Vol.39, 342-351. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2008/032)
History: Accepted 28 Nov 2007 , Received 05 Jul 2007 , Revised 11 Sep 2007

Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of minimal hearing loss (HL) on children’s ability to perform simultaneous tasks in quiet and in noise.

Method: Ten children with minimal HL and 11 children with normal hearing (NH) participated. Both groups ranged in age from 8 to 12 years. The children categorized common words (primary task) while completing dot-to-dot games (secondary task) in quiet as well as in noise presented at 0 dB and +6 dB signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs). It was hypothesized that the children’s progression through the dot-to-dot games would slow as they encountered more difficult listening environments. This hypothesis was based on the theory that listeners have limited cognitive resources to allocate to any combination of tasks.

Results: The dot rate of both groups decreased similarly in the multitasking conditions relative to baseline. However, no other differences between groups or listening conditions were revealed. Significantly poorer word categorization was observed for the children with minimal HL in noise.

Conclusion: These data suggest that children with minimal HL may be unable to respond to a difficult listening task by drawing resources from other tasks to compensate.

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