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Auditory temporal processing and aging: implications for speech understanding of older people

DOI: 10.4081/audiores.2011.e4

Keywords: auditory temporal processing , aging.

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Abstract:

Current estimates of the prevalence of age-related hearing loss among those over 65 years in the U.S. converge on an overall prevalence rate of approximately 50%, suggesting that there are currently 20 million senior citizens with significant hearing loss (Agrawal et al., 2008; Cruickshanks et al., 1998; Moscicki et al., 1985). Because the post-World War II baby generation (generally known as the Baby Boomers) is approaching retirement age (and hence known as the Golden Boomers), it is anticipated that the population of those over 65 years with age-related hearing loss will increase to 36 million by the year 2030. Perhaps the #1 communication challenge reported by older adults is difficulty understanding speech in less-than-ideal conditions. These conditions include poor acoustic environments (noise or reverberation) or speech that is produced by individuals with accents or fast speaking rates. The problems in speech understanding in demanding communication situations are reported by older people with hearing loss as well as those with normal hearing. One key challenge for researchers is to identify those aspects of the communication breakdown that are attributed to loss of hearing sensitivity vs. those that are associated with other factors that accompany aging...

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