Effect of aging on spatial hearing
Keywords:Geriatrics, Physiology, Binaural cues, Sound localization, Spatial hearing
AbstractAuditory spatial acuity begins to deteriorate by middle age. Later deficits may reflect age-related degeneration of the peripheral and central auditory pathways, which could interfere with the encoding of binaural and spectral cues that are essential for accurate sound localization. This hypothesis is tested by measuring the utilization of such cues from adolescence to old age. Sixteen subjects aged 10 to 79 grouped by age were screened for hearing loss in the region of 0.5-4 kHz. With aging, there was a decline with the use of binaural cues, and greater difficulty with front/back discrimination. Left frontal superiority may reflect a right hemisphere advantage either for spatial acuity or for the processing of complex spectral information.
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