The Involvement of Listening Effort in Explaining Bilingual Listening Under Adverse Listening Conditions

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The current review examines listening effort to uncover how it is implicated in bilingual performance under adverse listening conditions. Various measures of listening effort, including physiological, behavioral, and subjective measures, have been employed to examine listening effort in bilingual children and adults. Adverse listening conditions, stemming from environmental factors, as well as factors related to the speaker or listener, have been examined. The existing literature, although relatively limited to date, points to increased listening effort among bilinguals in their nondominant second language (L2) compared to their dominant first language (L1) and relative to monolinguals. Interestingly, increased effort is often observed even when speech intelligibility remains unaffected. These findings emphasize the importance of considering listening effort alongside speech intelligibility. Building upon the insights gained from the current review, we propose that various factors may modulate the observed effects. These include the particular measure selected to examine listening effort, the characteristics of the adverse condition, as well as factors related to the particular linguistic background of the bilingual speaker. Critically, further research is needed to better understand the impact of these factors on listening effort. The review outlines avenues for future research that would promote a comprehensive understanding of listening effort in bilingual individuals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in hearing
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • adverse listening conditions
  • bilingualism
  • first language
  • listening effort
  • second language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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