Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Audiology (AuD)

Department

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Advisor(s)

Ayasakanta Rout

Brenda M. Ryals

Christopher G. Clinard

Abstract

This study examined the effect of listening fatigue on the reaction time of normal hearing listeners, who work in noisy places, at different signal to noise ratios (quiet, +5 and +10 dB). Reaction time was measured using a single task paradigm on twelve male listeners (ages 23-58 years) before and after an eight hour shift at a noisy power plant. The participants in the study also completed a subjective rating questionnaire at two intervals, before and after the fatigue-inducing condition. Results of the study indicated that the reaction time was significantly longer for the most difficult listening condition, indicating the possibility that measurement of the reaction time was confounded by the lack of audibility. A learning effect on this particular reaction time task was also found because the results indicated shorter reaction times in the second session. Participants also subjectively rated significantly higher levels of fatigue on the rating scale after they were exposed to the fatigue-inducing condition. Results from this study indicate that caution should be taken when interpreting reaction time data as a measure of listening fatigue or listening effort. In conjunction with previous studies by Hulvey (2015) and Athey (2016) it is the author’s belief that reaction time is affected by signal to noise ratio and not directly by listening fatigue.

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