Background: Psychophysical evidence indicates age-related decline over a broad range of auditory abilities. Thus, age-related deterioration in temporal processing abilities also may be expected. At issue is whether the various dimensions of temporal processing decline at the same or at different rates across age. Purpose: To determine whether various temporal processes decline with aging and whether some are more resistant to the effects of aging than others. Study Sample: A total of 176 subjects in the age range from 20 to 85 yr participated in this research. Subjects were divided into six cross-sectional age groups. There were 30 subjects per age decade up to 70 yr and 26 subjects in the age group >70 yr. Data Collection and Analysis: Temporal processing was evaluated using gap detection, duration discrimination, modulation detection, and duration pattern. Results: Individuals in the 20-30 and 30-40 yr groups performed significantly better in all the psychoacoustic measures in comparison to other age groups. Deterioration in temporal processing began after the fourth decade of life. Deterioration accelerated after 70 yr of age. Conclusions: There is a systematic, age-related decline in temporal processing starting from the fourth decade of life. The deficits in temporal processing observed in the present study may be related in part to the difficulties that elderly persons encounter in noisy listening situations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Speech and Hearing