The effect of voice quality and competing speakers in a passage comprehension task: perceived effort in relation to cognitive functioning and performance in children with normal hearing

Heike von Lochow, Viveka Lyberg Åhlander, Birgitta Sahlén, Tobias Kastberg, K Jonas Brännström

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The study investigates the effect of voice quality and competing speakers on perceived effort in a passage comprehension task in relation to cognitive functioning. In addition, it explores if perceived effort was related to performance. A total of 49 children (aged 7:03 to 12:02 years) with normal hearing participated. The children performed an auditory passage comprehension task presented with six different listening conditions consisting of a typical voice or a dysphonic voice presented in quiet, with one competing speaker, and with four competing speakers. After completing the task, they rated their perceived effort on a five-grade scale. The children also performed tasks measuring working memory capacity (WMC) and executive functioning. The results show that voice quality had no direct effect on perceived effort but the children's ratings of perceived effort were related to their executive functioning. A significant effect was seen for background listening condition indicating higher perceived effort for background listening conditions with competing speakers. The effects of background listening condition were mainly related to the children's WMC but also their executive functioning. It can be concluded that the individual susceptibility to the effect of the dysphonic voice is related to the child's executive functioning. The individual susceptibility to the presence of competing speakers is related to the child's WMC and executive functioning.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)32–41
Number of pages10
JournalLogopedics Phoniatrics Vocology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • multitalker babble noise
  • voice quality
  • working memory
  • Executive function
  • dysphonic voice

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