Auditory Attention Ability under Dichotic Dual-Task Situation in Adults with Listening Difficulties

Chie Obuchi, Tetsuaki Kawase, Kimitaka Kaga, Yoshihiro Noguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Recent studies have reported poor cognition, such as attention and working memory, in adults with listening difficulties (LiD). However, they do not adequately describe the actual state of poor attention ability in adults with LiD. We examined the state of auditory attention in adults with and without LiD in tasks requiring multiple attention controls. Methods: Twenty-one adults who had normal hearing but complained about LiD encountered during everyday life and 22 healthy controls were included. We presented a target detection task using an odd-ball format for one ear and a sentence repetition task for the other ear. In the target detection task, participants listened to the 1,000-Hz tone served as the standard stimulus, while they had to accept a 2,000-Hz tone presented as the deviant stimulus. In the sentence repetition task, short sentences were presented. The stimuli presented to them were played on a personal computer at the most comfortable level. The participants heard these stimuli through headphones. They were required to press a key for standard stimuli in the target detection task and repeat what they heard immediately in the repetition task. We compared the response accuracy for each ear task between adults with and without LiD. Results: Our results showed that there were significant differences between the participant groups in the auditory dual-task under the dichotic listening situation. When examined individually, four adults with LiD had decreased scores in both the sentence repetition and target detection task, while the other nine participants showed a bias toward either task. Furthermore, the analysis of reaction time for pressing button revealed that the standard deviation of reaction time was extended in participants who scored poorly in either of the ear tasks. On the other hand, all adults without LiD were able to conduct the auditory dual-task exactly and promptly. Conclusion: The results suggest that adults with LiD have difficulties in appropriately allocating various cognitive abilities required for each task. We concluded that auditory attention is an important ability to conduct the auditory dual-task, and this is applicable for adults with LiD. Therefore, we believe that it is necessary to use auditory tests that require complex attentional abilities in listening, such as those required in daily life, to assess adults with LiD.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAudiology and Neuro-Otology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Speech and Hearing


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