Lipreading and Audiovisual Speech Recognition Across the Adult Lifespan: Implications for Audiovisual Integration

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Abstract

In this study of visual (V-only) and audiovisual (AV) speech recognition in adults aged 22–92 years, the rate of age-related decrease in V-only performance was more than twice that in AV performance. Both auditory-only (A-only) and V-only performance were significant predictors of AV speech recognition, but age did not account for additional (unique) variance. Blurring the visual speech signal decreased speech recognition, and in AV conditions involving stimuli associated with equivalent unimodal performance for each participant, speech recognition remained constant from 22 to 92 years of age. Finally, principal components analysis revealed separate visual and auditory factors, but no evidence of an AV integration factor. Taken together, these results suggest that the benefit that comes from being able to see as well as hear a talker remains constant throughout adulthood and that changes in this AV advantage are entirely driven by age-related changes in unimodal visual and auditory speech recognition.

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