News & Information
Aug 07 2015
Do people sound like they are mumbling?
“It sounds like people are mumbling.” This is a common complaint we hear from our older patients. Now, new research from the University of Maryland suggests that speech processing declines as we get older, even in the absence of measurable hearing loss.
The research examined understanding of speech syllables for both younger and older adults by altering the frequency of the sounds and measuring their brain activity with electrodes. They discovered that responses were delayed significantly for the older adults, especially for processing the beginning and ends of words. This finding was independent of hearing loss. It appears as we get older our ability to process speech slows down, making it more difficult to follow conversations.
The researchers speculate that this may be one of the reasons older adults have a harder time hearing when there is background noise, even if they don’t have a measurable hearing loss. Throw hearing loss on top of this and it makes hearing conversation when there is background noise very difficult. This research is in the early stages and the researchers believe it will eventually lead to new and unique treatments such as perhaps training the brain to process language more efficiently. Stay tuned!
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