Response latencies in auditory sentence comprehension: effects of linguistic versus perceptual challenge

Psychol Aging. 2010 Sep;25(3):730-5. doi: 10.1037/a0019300.


Older adults with good hearing and with mild-to-moderate hearing loss were tested for comprehension of spoken sentences that required perceptual effort (hearing speech at lower sound levels), and two degrees of cognitive load (sentences with simpler or more complex syntax). Although comprehension accuracy was equivalent for both participant groups and for young adults with good hearing, hearing loss was associated with longer response latencies to the correct comprehension judgments, especially for complex sentences heard at relatively low amplitudes. These findings demonstrate the need to take into account both sensory and cognitive demands of speech materials in older adults' language comprehension.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition
  • Comprehension*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Linguistics
  • Male
  • Reaction Time*
  • Speech Perception*
  • Young Adult