Author(s): Bockstael Annelies, Vandevelde Annelies, Botteldooren Dick, Verduyckt Ingrid
Voice disorders or dysphonia are clearly more prevalent in teachers compared to the general population. Voice disorders not only have negative effects on teachers' health and well-being, also for the students, information processing appears to be more cumbersome when listening to a dysphonic voice. The question is how listening to a dysphonic voice fits within the existing knowledge on the cognitive effects of background noise in general. In addition, most of the effects of dysphonic voices are studied for (primary school) children, it is unclear to what extent they hold true for adults. In this, adult students might be less affected by the dysphonic voices, as they have more (cognitive) resources to deal with adverse listening conditions. Finally, it is unclear whether different types of voice disorders, with different perceptual characteristics, affect information processing differently. This study investigates information processing by adults in conditions that are thought the be very challenging: speech in multitalker babble, speech produced by dysphonic voices without additional background noise, and dysphonic speech within multitalker babble. As a reference condition, speech has been produced by a healthy voice without additional background noise. For the dysphonic voices, three different voice disorders have been included. Participants were asked to report perceived difficulty of information processing. Results show that reported difficulty clearly varies depending on the conditions. Compared to the reference condition, reported difficulty is clearly higher for information presented in multitalker babble and information presented by a dysphonic voice. Remarkably, within multitalker babble no differences are seen between dysphonic voices and a healthy voice. Finally, no differences in rating were seen in-between the different voice disorders included in this study.
Name: Prof Annelies Bockstael