This study shows a major cause of hearing loss in older people

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

In a recent study published in the Journal of Neurophysiology, researchers found older people’s hearing problems may be because their brains work with less information.

They found that the neural response of the midbrain of older listeners is not merely less well synchronized than for younger listeners, but also actually contains less information.

The study is from the University of Maryland. One author is Jonathan Z Simon.

Younger adults with normal hearing can typically understand speech in the presence of a competing speaker without much effort, but this ability to understand speech in challenging conditions deteriorates with age.

Older people, even with normal hearing, often have problems understanding speech in noise.

Previous studies have shown that the frequency-following response (FFR) generated by the midbrain indicates age-related neural deficits.

In the current study, the team examined the amount of stimulus information contained in the FFR. They found a broad-band informational loss linked to aging for both FFR amplitude and phase.

This age-related loss of information is more severe in higher frequency FFR bands.

The team also found that older adults benefit neurally, i.e., show a reduction in loss of information, when the speech is changed from meaningful (talker speaking a language that they can comprehend, such as English) to meaningless (talker speaking a language that they cannot comprehend, such as Dutch).

The findings suggest that age-related informational loss may be more severe when the speech is meaningful than when it is meaningless.

The team believes their findings may help develop new methods for improving hearing ability in older people.

If you care about hearing loss, please read studies about this noise could improve your hearing and findings of hearing aids linked to lower risks of dementia, depression, falls.

For more information about hearing loss and your health, please see recent studies about hearing loss may cause mental, physical, and social loss in older people.

Copyright © 2021 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.