Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

Psychoacoustics and Aging: Implications for Everyday Listening

Author(s) Bruce Schneider, PhD
Volume 21
Number 2
Year 1997
Page(s) 111-124
Language English
Keywords presbycusis
Abstract Elderly listeners often find it difficult to identify and locate sound sources, and understand speech, in everyday listening situations. Age-related changes that occur in the anatomy, biomechanics, and physiology of the cochlea could be responsible for many of these difficulties. A review of recent findings (primarily based on animal models) suggests that cochlear degeneration in aging subjects, in addition to elevating thresholds, may also adversely affect the temporal and spectral resolution of the auditory system. As well, behavioural measures of hearing in the elderly are consistent with both a loss of temporal resolution and a broadening of the auditory filter. In the early stages of presbycusis these changes may be so subtle that elderly listeners may experience little if any difficulty in processing speech in a quiet environment. However, as the environment becomes noisier and the speech faster, even rather subtle deficits can result in poorer speech recognition and comprehension on the part of elderly listeners.

Les personnes âgées ont souvent du mal à repérer la source du son et à comprendre la parole dans le quotidien. Les changements anatomiques, biomécaniques et physiologiques de la cochlée qui sont attribuables à l'âge pourraient être la cause de leurs difficultés. Une analyse des contatations récentes (surtout à partir de modèles animaliers) donne à penser qu'en plus d'élever les seuils auditifs, la dégénérescence de la cochlée chez les sujets âgés peut nuire à la résolution tant temporale que spectrale du système auditif. En outre, les mesures du comportement de l'audition chez les personnes âgées sont compatibles à la fois avec la perte de la résolution temporale et un élargissement du filtre auditif. Aux premiers stades de la presbyacousie, les changements sont parfois si subtils que les personnes âgées ont très peu de mal à traiter la parole dans un environnement silencieux. Cependant, la discrimination et la compréhension de la parole seront d'autant plus ardues que le bruit ambiant est fort et la parole, rapide, même chez les personnes âgées dont la déficience auditive sera très légère.
Record ID 146
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