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Acta Otolaryngol Suppl. 1990;476:136-42.

Effects of different noises on speech discrimination by the elderly.

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Institute of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Ferrara, Italy.


Elderly people often complain of difficulty in speech discrimination, especially in noise environments. The effects of 4 competing noises on sentence intelligibility were evaluated: speech noise, cocktail party noise, traffic noise and continuous discourse. A comparison was made between young and old normally hearing subjects and young and old hearing-impaired subjects with similar audiograms. The old people with normal hearing had slightly reduced discrimination compared to the young during competing speech noise and cocktail noise. Discrimination in the hearing-impaired elderly was also significantly worse than in the young people with normals hearing, during competing cocktail party noise, traffic noise and continuous discourse. The young hearing-impaired had results between young normal-hearing subjects and old hearing-impaired, except for continuous discourse. Thus the effects of age on speech discrimination in noise are subtle, becoming more pronounced in the presence of hearing loss. Age-related changes in primary speech discrimination were particularly evident during competing continuous discourse.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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