Speech Processing Impairments in Multiple Sclerosis
Our most complex interactions with fellow human beings occur through speech, but often in the presence of unfavourable background noise. In noisy environments, listeners must use a number of sensory and cognitive resources to extract the speech of interest. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that disrupts wide-ranging cerebral networks, including central auditory pathways. Therefore, the ability to process speech in noise is likely to be affected in people with MS (pwMS). Despite the impact that speech intelligibility has on daily communication and quality of life, investigations in this clinical population have been limited to describing pure-tone hearing only. Our lab group is the first to describe how well pwMS process speech in daily noise. This has important implications for the delivery of preparatory education for patients, family, and caregivers about potential difficulties in communication.