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Re: working memory and melody

Dear list and Monita,

I suppose you want to avoid verbal tasks since you expect that the hearing impairment will interact with the verbal working memory test. However, it is possible to test working memory in the visual modality for the hearing impaired.
With regard to moderately hearing impaired listeners, in my case hearing aid users from a clinical sample, I have made several studies (Lunner, 2003) (N=71; N=32) where verbal working memory performance was measured by the (visual) reading span test (Daneman and Carpenter, 1980; Baddeley et al, 1985). This measure was correlated to the hearing impaired test persons' aided speech recognition in noise performance. And indeed, strong correlations were found between the visual working memory task and the speech recognition in noise performance (r=0.6-0.7). High working memory performance was associated with high performance in the speech recognition task. This was true also when age and hearing loss was accounted for. The data suggests that individual working memory performance may be important for speech understanding in difficult listening environments for hearing impaired persons.

Complex working memory tasks (e.g. reading span, including both processing 
tasks and short-term memory) capture something more than short-term memory tasks (digit span, only short-term memory) as shown in Daneman and Merikle (1996), therefore it is probably wise to construct complex tasks which includes both processing and memory aspects in your tasks.

Baddeley A, Logie R, Nimmo-Smith I, Brereton N. (1985) Components of fluent reading. J  Mem Lang 24:490-502.

Daneman M, Carpenter PA. (1980) Individual differences in Working Memory and reading. J Verb Learn Verb Behav 19:450-466.

Daneman M, Merikle PM. (1996) Working memory and language comprehension: A meta-analysis. Psychon Bull Rev 3:422-433.

Lunner T. (2003) Cognitive function in relation to hearing aid use. Int J Audiol 42:S49-S58.

Best regards,

Thomas Lunner, PhD, ass. Prof.
Oticon A/S Research Centre Eriksholm
Division of Technical Audiology
Department of Neuroscience
Linköping University

-----Original Message-----
From: AUDITORY Research in Auditory Perception [mailto:AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Monita Chatterjee
Sent: 22. maj 2006 22:44
To: AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: working memory and melody

Dear List, 

This discussion is very interesting. My lab is (with great caution)
moving toward an aging study in cochlear implant listeners, and we've
been discussing ways to measure working memory using non-verbal tasks. I
 know that measures of working memory have been obtained using lights
and colors, etc., but are these measures telling us about different
mechanisms vs. measures that are obtained using speech (digit span,
etc.)? I would guess that the answer is yes, given that even for pitch,
the measure taps into a different mechanism. If I'm interested in a
measure of working memory in a hearing-impaired population, I should
avoid verbal tasks: but what sorts of tasks would be non-verbal, and yet
informative about auditory/speech perception? 



M Chatterjee, Ph.D.
Asst Professor, Hearing and Speech Sciences
0100 LeFrak Hall
University of Maryland, College Park
College Park, MD 20742
(301) 405 7716