Aurora Weaver, a member of the research team and assistant professor at Auburn University, sheds some light on the discovery: “Conventional research shows that right-ear advantage diminishes around age 13, but our results indicate this is related to the demand of the task. Traditional tests include four-to-six pieces of information. As we age, we have better control of our attention for processing information as a result of maturation and our experience.”
The findings could have far-reaching applications in the medical industry, being used to ameliorate equipment for the hearing impaired. “The more we know about listening in demanding environments, and listening effort in general, the better diagnostic tools, auditory management (including hearing aids) and auditory training will become,” Sacchinelli attests.
Next on the agenda is gleaning a more robust apprehension of the impact of cognitive decline on the ability to listen. “Cognitive skills, of course, are subject to decline with advanced aging, disease, or trauma,” Weaver said. “Therefore, we need to better understand the impact of cognitive demands on listening.” Hear, hear.