Aging reduces speech intelligibility; even for people with no hearing loss. Cognitive training programs can decrease the problem.
A survey carried out by hearing scientists from University of Cambridge and the MRC Institute of hearing in Nottingham in the UK states that cognitive skills and central auditory processing are significant contributors in age-related difficulties in understanding speech.
Reduced cognitive functions
The study consisted of a group of young and old people. Both age groups were matched in terms of peripheral hearing sensitivity and the tests included speech-in-noise, cognition, and remote delivery.
The researchers found that the group of older people struggled on the speech-in-noise task even though they were without peripheral hearing impairment. The study therefore concludes that indentifying speech in noise declined with age which could also be due to age-related deficits and reduced cognitive functions.
It is well documented that people’s cognitive functions – e.g. attention, memory, emotion and learning – decrease with age. Therefore the scientists suggest, on the basis of the study, that older people with hearing loss, in addition to hearing aids, should train their cognitive functions.
Scientists are now following a group of normal-hearing teens up to their old age. They hope to discover when these age-related changed first can be observed.
Hearing loss and cognition
Older adults with untreated hearing loss are more likely to develop problems thinking and remembering than older adults whose hearing is normal, according to a study. Another study shows that those who use hearing aids have about the same cognitive levels as those with no hearing loss.
Read the entire survey here:
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