A recently released study by the Nature Communications Journal has shown that speech comprehension decreases during healthy aging, due to the changes in neural modulation in the listening brain.
These age-related listening and comprehension difficulties are present especially in environments with a lot of background noise, as well as when speech is fast. They are likely the consequence of an interaction between sensory and cognitive changes. To further characterize these processes, researchers from Germany and Canada studied neural behavior in younger and older patient groups: 20 younger adults aged 18 to 31 years, and 20 older adults aged 60-79 years of age.
What the team found was that younger subjects could easily synchronize neural firing with the target signal, thus filtering out the irrelevant noise. However, in older individuals, the neural signals fired in a pattern synchronized with the irrelevant background noise, thus inhibiting their ability to detect the target signals. You can find out more about the study here.
If you have trouble understanding fast speech, or speech in environments with a lot of background noise, hearing aids may be able to help you. If you’d like to set up an appointment with a hearing health care provider, give us a call at (877) 426-0687.
source: Audiology Worldnews