Neurofeedback Training of Auditory Selective Attention Enhances Speech-In-Noise Perception

Subong Kim, Caroline Emory, Inyong Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Selective attention enhances cortical responses to attended sensory inputs while suppressing others, which can be an effective strategy for speech-in-noise (SiN) understanding. Emerging evidence exhibits a large variance in attentional control during SiN tasks, even among normal-hearing listeners. Yet whether training can enhance the efficacy of attentional control and, if so, whether the training effects can be transferred to performance on a SiN task has not been explicitly studied. Here, we introduce a neurofeedback training paradigm designed to reinforce the attentional modulation of auditory evoked responses. Young normal-hearing adults attended one of two competing speech streams consisting of five repeating words (“up”) in a straight rhythm spoken by a female speaker and four straight words (“down”) spoken by a male speaker. Our electroencephalography-based attention decoder classified every single trial using a template-matching method based on pre-defined patterns of cortical auditory responses elicited by either an “up” or “down” stream. The result of decoding was provided on the screen as online feedback. After four sessions of this neurofeedback training over 4 weeks, the subjects exhibited improved attentional modulation of evoked responses to the training stimuli as well as enhanced cortical responses to target speech and better performance during a post-training SiN task. Such training effects were not found in the Placebo Group that underwent similar attention training except that feedback was given only based on behavioral accuracy. These results indicate that the neurofeedback training may reinforce the strength of attentional modulation, which likely improves SiN understanding. Our finding suggests a potential rehabilitation strategy for SiN deficits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number676992
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Volume15
DOIs
StatePublished - 22 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • attentional modulation
  • brain-computer interface
  • eletroencephalography
  • neurofeedback training
  • perceptual training
  • selective attention
  • speech-in-noise perception

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