Does experimental pain affect auditory processing of speech-relevant signals? a study in healthy young adults

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Abstract

Aim: To assess the effect of tonic pain stimulation on auditory processing of speech-relevant acoustic signals in healthy pain-free volunteers. Methods: Sixty university students, randomly assigned to either a thermal pain stimulation (46°C/6 min) group (PS) or no pain stimulation group (NPS), performed a rate change detection task (RCDT) involving sinusoidally frequency-modulated vowel-like signals. Task difficulty was manipulated by changing the rate of the modulated signals (henceforth rate). Perceived pain intensity was evaluated using a visual analog scale (VAS) (0-100). Results: Mean pain rating was ~33 in the PS group and ~3 in the NPS group. Pain stimulation was associated with poorer performance on the RCDT, but this trend was not statistically significant. Performance worsened with increasing rate of signal modulation in both groups (p < 0.0001), with no pain by rate interaction. Conclusions: The present findings indicate a trend whereby mild or moderate pain appears to affect auditory processing of speech-relevant acoustic signals. This trend, however, was not statistically significant. It is possible that more intense pain would yield more pronounced (deleterious) effects on auditory processing, but this needs to be verified empirically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-300
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology
Volume19
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology

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