In this study, two experiments were conducted on auditory selective and divided attention in which the listening task involved the identification of words in sentences spoken by one talker while a second talker produced a very similar competing sentence. Ten young normal-hearing (YNH) and 13 elderly hearing-impaired (EHI) listeners participated in each experiment. The type of attention cue used was the main difference between experiments. Across both experiments, several consistent trends were observed. First, in eight of the nine divided-attention tasks across both experiments, the EHI subjects performed significantly worse than the YNH subjects. By comparison, significant differences in performance between age groups were only observed on three of the nine selective-attention tasks. Finally, there were consistent individual differences in performance across both experiments. Correlational analyses performed on the data from the 13 older adults suggested that the individual differences in performance were associated with individual differences in memory (digit span). Among the elderly, differences in age or differences in hearing loss did not contribute to the individual differences observed in either experiment.

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