The Role of Electrophysiology in the Assessment of Age-Related Deficits in Speech Perception The audiology field has traditionally focused on measures of auditory function that primarily target the periphery—the audiogram, immittance, and word recognition in quiet. These measures identify deficits in auditory function at threshold levels; however, everyday communication occurs at suprathreshold levels, and other factors associated with aging (e.g., cochlear synaptopathy, central ... Article
Article  |   May 10, 2018
The Role of Electrophysiology in the Assessment of Age-Related Deficits in Speech Perception
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Samira Anderson
    Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
    Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Program, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
  • Disclosures
    Disclosures ×
  • Financial: Samira Anderson has no relevant financial interests to disclose.
    Financial: Samira Anderson has no relevant financial interests to disclose.×
  • Nonfinancial: Samira Anderson has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose.
    Nonfinancial: Samira Anderson has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose.×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Part 2
Article   |   May 10, 2018
The Role of Electrophysiology in the Assessment of Age-Related Deficits in Speech Perception
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, May 2018, Vol. 3, 28-42. doi:10.1044/persp3.SIG6.28
History: Received March 18, 2018 , Revised April 2, 2018 , Accepted April 2, 2018
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, May 2018, Vol. 3, 28-42. doi:10.1044/persp3.SIG6.28
History: Received March 18, 2018; Revised April 2, 2018; Accepted April 2, 2018

The audiology field has traditionally focused on measures of auditory function that primarily target the periphery—the audiogram, immittance, and word recognition in quiet. These measures identify deficits in auditory function at threshold levels; however, everyday communication occurs at suprathreshold levels, and other factors associated with aging (e.g., cochlear synaptopathy, central auditory processing deficits, or reduced cognitive ability) may play a role in an individual's ability to communicate, especially in adverse listening environments. Electrophysiological (EEG) testing may provide a more comprehensive picture of auditory function than what is obtained with our traditional measures. The primary EEG assessment used in the clinic today is the auditory brainstem response (ABR). ABR testing typically focuses on threshold testing to diagnose hearing loss in infants and others who are difficult to test with behavioral measures, but future applications of the ABR and other EEG measures, such as the frequency-following response and cortical auditory evoked potentials, may reveal suprathreshold deficits that are not seen in the typical test battery. Furthermore, EEG may be used to assist with management of hearing loss, through determining amplification or training effects on the fidelity of speech representation in the auditory brainstem and cortex.

Acknowledgments
This was supported by the Hearing Health Foundation (Anderson) and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R21DC015843 (Anderson). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
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