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Volume 42 Number 4, July/August 2005, Supplement 2
Pages 25 — 44

Abstract - Some effects of aging on central auditory processing

Jeffrey S. Martin, MA; James F. Jerger, PhD*

School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX
Abstract — Seniors often have more difficulty understanding speech than younger adults, particularly in noisy environments. While loss in peripheral hearing sensitivity explains many of the listening problems of elderly persons, age-related declines in general cognitive skill and central auditory processing also appear to contribute. In this article, we focus primarily on the effects of age on central auditory mechanisms. To this end, we review research examining a central locus for deficits in temporal processing and summarize behavioral and event-related potential findings from our laboratory's research on the effects of aging on dichotic listening performance. Results show that age-related deficits in interhemispheric information processing may underlie some of the listening problems among seniors. We also discuss implications for clinical audiological rehabilitative efforts in this population.
Key words: aging, auditory processing, binaural interference, cognition, dichotic listening, event-related potential, gap detection, hearing aid, interhemispheric transfer, temporal processing.

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