Background: The Australian version of the Listening in Spatialized Noise - Sentences Test (LiSN-S) was originally developed to assess auditory stream segregation skills in children aged 6 to 11 yr with suspected central auditory processing disorder. The LiSN-S creates a three-dimensional auditory environment under headphones. A simple repetition-response protocol is used to assess a listener's speech reception threshold (SRT) for target sentences presented in competing speech maskers. Performance is measured as the improvement in SRT in decibels gained when either pitch, spatial, or both pitch and spatial cues are incorporated in the maskers. Purpose: To collect additional normative data on the Australian LiSN-S for adolescents and adults up to 60 yr of age, to analyze the effects of age on LiSN-S performance, to examine retest reliability in the older population, and to extrapolate findings from the Australian data so that the North American version of the test can also be used clinically with older adults. Research Design: In a descriptive design, normative and test-retest reliability data were collected from adolescents and adults and combined with previously published data from Australian children aged 6 to 11 yr. Study Sample: One hundred thirty-two participants with normal hearing aged 12 yr, 0 mo, to 60 yr, 7 mo, took part in the normative data study. Fifty-five participants returned between 2 and 4 mo after the initial assessment for retesting. Results: Analysis of variance revealed a significant effect of age on LiSN-S performance (p < .01 for all LiSN-S measures, η p 2 ranging from 0.16 to 0.54). On the low and high cue SRT measures, planned contrasts revealed significant differences between adults and children aged 13 yr and younger, as well as between 50- to 60-yr-olds and younger adults aged 18-29 yr. Whereas there were significant differences between adults and children on the talker, spatial, and total advantage measures, there were no significant differences in performance in adults aged 18-60 yr. There was a small but significant improvement on retest ranging from 0.5 to 1.2 dB across the four LiSN-S test conditions (p ranging from .01 to <.001). However, there was no significant difference between test and retest on the advantage measures (p ranging from .143 to .768). Test-retest differences across all LiSN-S measures were significantly correlated (r ranging from 0.2 to 0.7, p ranging from .023 to <.00000001) and did not differ as a function of age (p ranging from .178 to .980). Conclusions: As there was no significant difference among adults aged 18-60 yr on the LiSN-S talker, spatial, and total advantage measures, it appears that the decline in ability to understand speech in noise experienced by 50- to 60-yr-olds is not related to their ability to use either spatial or pitch cues. This result suggests that some other factor/s contributes to the decline in speech perception in noise experienced by older adults that is reported in the literature and was demonstrated in this study on the LiSN-S low and high cue SRT measures.
- Auditory stream segregation
- Central auditory processing disorder
- Spatial processing disorder