Improving the Quality of Auditory Training by Making Tasks Meaningful Traditional auditory training (AT) typically includes activities that focus on the formal properties of sounds without requiring attention to meaning. After reviewing the psycholinguistic bases for requiring attention to meaning, the authors present a series of examples of how to modify purely form-oriented AT activities so that they become meaning ... Article
Article  |   November 01, 2011
Improving the Quality of Auditory Training by Making Tasks Meaningful
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Joe Barcroft
    Washington University, St. Louis, MO
  • Elizabeth Mauzé
    Washington University School of Medicine
  • Catherine Schroy
    Washington University School of Medicine
  • Nancy Tye-Murray
    Washington University School of Medicine
  • Mitchell Sommers
    Washington University
  • Brent Spehar
    Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO
  • Joe Barcroft is Associate Professor of Spanish and Second Language Acquisition and Affiliate Associate Professor of Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. His research focuses on input processing and language acquisition, with particular emphasis on second language lexical acquisition, the bilingual mental lexicon, the role of acoustic variability in language processing and learning, and applications of research findings in second language acquisition toward the development of programs auditory training for individuals with hearing loss.
    Joe Barcroft is Associate Professor of Spanish and Second Language Acquisition and Affiliate Associate Professor of Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. His research focuses on input processing and language acquisition, with particular emphasis on second language lexical acquisition, the bilingual mental lexicon, the role of acoustic variability in language processing and learning, and applications of research findings in second language acquisition toward the development of programs auditory training for individuals with hearing loss.×
  • Elizabeth Mauzé is a research audiologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Her 19-year career has primarily been devoted to the area of aural rehabilitation in adults. She started a consumer advocacy program in St. Louis; developed a psychosocial rehabilitation program; conducted focus groups for individuals with hearing loss; and, most recently, developed an auditory training program for adults with hearing loss. She has made presentations at a number of national and international conferences.
    Elizabeth Mauzé is a research audiologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Her 19-year career has primarily been devoted to the area of aural rehabilitation in adults. She started a consumer advocacy program in St. Louis; developed a psychosocial rehabilitation program; conducted focus groups for individuals with hearing loss; and, most recently, developed an auditory training program for adults with hearing loss. She has made presentations at a number of national and international conferences.×
  • Catherine Schroy started her career as a teacher of the deaf before training as an audiologist. She worked as a clinical audiologist for 10 years and now works as a research audiologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Her research interests include aural rehabilitation in adults and children, effects of childhood deafness on learning, and clinical education. Catherine is currently pursuing her PhD in speech and hearing at Washington University.
    Catherine Schroy started her career as a teacher of the deaf before training as an audiologist. She worked as a clinical audiologist for 10 years and now works as a research audiologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Her research interests include aural rehabilitation in adults and children, effects of childhood deafness on learning, and clinical education. Catherine is currently pursuing her PhD in speech and hearing at Washington University.×
  • Nancy Tye-Murray is a professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. She is the author of the introductory textbook Foundations of Aural Rehabilitation: Children, Adults, and Their Family Members (now in its second edition, Singular, 2004), and of more than 100 peer-reviewed research papers. Her National Institutes of Health–sponsored research concerns aging and audiovisual speech recognition, discourse comprehension, auditory training, audiovisual speech processing by children who have hearing loss, and communication breakdowns in acute medical care settings.
    Nancy Tye-Murray is a professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. She is the author of the introductory textbook Foundations of Aural Rehabilitation: Children, Adults, and Their Family Members (now in its second edition, Singular, 2004), and of more than 100 peer-reviewed research papers. Her National Institutes of Health–sponsored research concerns aging and audiovisual speech recognition, discourse comprehension, auditory training, audiovisual speech processing by children who have hearing loss, and communication breakdowns in acute medical care settings.×
  • Dr. Mitchell Sommers is Professor of Psychology at Washington University. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan and was a post-doctoral Fellow at Indiana University prior to coming to Washington University. His work focuses on speech perception in older adults and individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.
    Dr. Mitchell Sommers is Professor of Psychology at Washington University. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan and was a post-doctoral Fellow at Indiana University prior to coming to Washington University. His work focuses on speech perception in older adults and individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.×
  • Brent Spehar is a research scientist in the Department of Otolaryngology at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri. He was an acoustic analyst in the U.S. Navy and a sign language interpreter before receiving his audiology degree and PhD from Washington University. He currently works as coinvestigator, project manager, and programmer for research projects involving audiovisual speech perception, aural rehabilitation, and age-related hearing loss.
    Brent Spehar is a research scientist in the Department of Otolaryngology at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri. He was an acoustic analyst in the U.S. Navy and a sign language interpreter before receiving his audiology degree and PhD from Washington University. He currently works as coinvestigator, project manager, and programmer for research projects involving audiovisual speech perception, aural rehabilitation, and age-related hearing loss.×
Article Information
Audiologic / Aural Rehabilitation / Articles
Article   |   November 01, 2011
Improving the Quality of Auditory Training by Making Tasks Meaningful
Perspectives on Audiology, November 2011, Vol. 7, 15-28. doi:10.1044/poa7.1.15
Perspectives on Audiology, November 2011, Vol. 7, 15-28. doi:10.1044/poa7.1.15

Traditional auditory training (AT) typically includes activities that focus on the formal properties of sounds without requiring attention to meaning. After reviewing the psycholinguistic bases for requiring attention to meaning, the authors present a series of examples of how to modify purely form-oriented AT activities so that they become meaning oriented. For example, a purely form-oriented same–different task with /ba/–/pa/ or /ba/–/ba/ can be modified using minimal pairs such as /bear/–/pear/ or /bear/–/bear/ and by requiring listeners to identify appropriate picture pairs in order (i.e., pictures of a bear and then a pear, or of a bear and then another bear). The modified version requires attention to meaning, whereas the original version does not. The authors promote a nonhierarchical and interactive approach to AT in which activities at 3 linguistic levels (word, sentence, and discourse) are included from the beginning and throughout AT, but with activities that are carefully designed to be meaning oriented and in which comprehension is the central focus. In the Summary By Example section, the authors describe an AT program (I Hear What You Mean; Tye-Murray, Barcroft, & Sommers, in press) that was designed to be meaning oriented at the word, sentence, and discourse levels. Specific benefits of providing meaning-based AT, such as higher levels of participant engagement, are highlighted.

Acknowledgment
This work was supported by Grant RO1DC008964-01A1 from the National Institutes of Health.
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