A Comparison of the Effects of Broadband Masking Noise on the Auditory Brainstem Response in Young and Older Adults We examined the effects of ipsilateral-direct, continuous, broadband noise on auditory brainstem response (ABR) wave I and V latencies and amplitudes in young adult versus older adult humans. It was hypothesized that age might influence the effects of masking noise on ABR peak latencies and/or amplitudes, given the frequent complaint ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2002
A Comparison of the Effects of Broadband Masking Noise on the Auditory Brainstem Response in Young and Older Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Robert F. Burkard
    University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
  • Donald Sims
    Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: RFB@acsu.buffalo.edu
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2002
A Comparison of the Effects of Broadband Masking Noise on the Auditory Brainstem Response in Young and Older Adults
American Journal of Audiology, June 2002, Vol. 11, 13-22. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2002/004)
History: Received September 10, 2001 , Accepted May 6, 2002
 
American Journal of Audiology, June 2002, Vol. 11, 13-22. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2002/004)
History: Received September 10, 2001; Accepted May 6, 2002

We examined the effects of ipsilateral-direct, continuous, broadband noise on auditory brainstem response (ABR) wave I and V latencies and amplitudes in young adult versus older adult humans. It was hypothesized that age might influence the effects of masking noise on ABR peak latencies and/or amplitudes, given the frequent complaint of older persons’ ability to process speech in background noise. Young adults had hearing thresholds of 20 dB HL or better for the octave frequencies from 250 to 8000 Hz. A subset of older study participants had thresholds of 20 dB HL or better across frequency, but others had thresholds up to 45 dB HL. All data were collected and analyzed with a Nicolet Bravo. An electrode was placed on the tympanic membrane (as well as on high forehead and contralateral mastoid), and a click level of 115 dB pSPL was used to maximize wave I amplitude. Masker conditions included a no-noise control and noise levels ranging from 20 to 70 dB effective masking, in 10 dB steps. With increasing noise level, both age groups showed minimal changes in wave I latency, but substantial increases in wave V latency and I–V interval. Peak amplitudes decreased with increasing noise level. Mean amplitudes were smaller for the older group, most notably for wave I. Mean peak latencies were greater in the older group, but the I–V interval was similar across age groups, as was the change in peak latencies and I–V interval across noise level. ABR parameters for the older adults with hearing meeting the 20-dB HL criterion at all frequencies (older-better) were compared to those who didn’t meet this criterion (olderworse). Mean wave I latency was greater and wave V latency and I–V interval were smaller for the older-worse group at all noise levels. Mean wave I and V amplitudes were similar for the older-better and older-worse groups. In participants with normal or near-normal hearing, ABR changes with increasing age included small latency increases and a substantial reduction in wave I amplitude. The effects of ipsilateral-direct masking noise on the click-evoked ABR are similar for young and older adults.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant NIA AG09524. We thank Renee Kee, Kathleen Szalda, and David Flint for their assistance with figure preparation and statistical analyses.
This work was presented at the 2001 Midwinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, St. Petersburg Beach, FL.
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