Previous studies have shown that individuals with poor working memory perform worse in speech recognition tests when fast compression release time is applied. However, it is not clear why this effect occurs only when modulations are present in the background noise. This study explored the relationship between working memory capacity, compression release time and characteristics of the background noise. This relationship is important to understand because the majority of everyday listening situations involve modulated noise. The investigation was carried out by testing two groups of older adults with similar degrees of mild-‐to-‐moderate sensorineural loss but different working memory abilities. The two groups were tested in their ability to understand a speech signal presented within a modulated background noise, processed with slow and fast compression. The extent of background noise modulation was varied. Results suggest that the combined effect of short compression release times, a low working memory capacity and glimpsing due to presence of amplitude modulation results in poor speech recognition performance. There was no interaction between working memory and different noise backgrounds, with the poor working memory group demonstrating susceptibility to fast compression in all background noise conditions.
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41st Annual Scientific and Technology Conference of the American Auditory Society i, 2014