The objectives of the current study were to examine the effect of noise (−5 dB SNR) on auditory comprehension and to examine its relationship with working memory. It was hypothesized that noise has a negative impact on information processing, auditory working memory, and comprehension. Performance on auditory working memory and comprehension tasks were significantly poorer in noise than in quiet. The reasoning, details, understanding, and vocabulary subtests were particularly affected in noise (p < .05). The relationship between auditory working memory and comprehension was stronger in noise than in quiet, suggesting an increased contribution of working memory. The authors report that these data suggest that school-age children’s auditory working memory and comprehension are negatively affected by noise. Performance on comprehension tasks in noise is strongly related to demands placed on working memory, supporting the theory that degrading listening conditions draws resources away from the primary task.
Sullivan, Jessica R., Osman, Homira, and Schafer, Erin C. (2015). The Effect of Noise on the Relationship Between Auditory Working Memory and Comprehension in School-Age Children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 58, 1042-1051.