Auditory Temporal Order Perception in Younger and Older Adults This investigation examined the abilities of younger and older listeners to discriminate and identify temporal order of sounds presented in tonal sequences. It was hypothesized that older listeners would exhibit greater difficulty than younger listeners on both temporal processing tasks, particularly for complex stimulus patterns. It was also anticipated that ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 1998
Auditory Temporal Order Perception in Younger and Older Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Peter J. Fitzgibbons
    Gallaudet University Washington, DC
  • Sandra Gordon-Salant
    University of Maryland College Park
  • Contact author: Sandra Gordon-Salant, PhD, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. e-mail: sgordon@bss1.umd.edu
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 1998
Auditory Temporal Order Perception in Younger and Older Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1998, Vol. 41, 1052-1060. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4105.1052
History: Received January 16, 1998 , Accepted June 15, 1998
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1998, Vol. 41, 1052-1060. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4105.1052
History: Received January 16, 1998; Accepted June 15, 1998

This investigation examined the abilities of younger and older listeners to discriminate and identify temporal order of sounds presented in tonal sequences. It was hypothesized that older listeners would exhibit greater difficulty than younger listeners on both temporal processing tasks, particularly for complex stimulus patterns. It was also anticipated that tone order discrimination would be easier than tone order identification for all listeners. Listeners were younger and older adults with either normal hearing or mild-to-moderate sensorineural hearing losses. Stimuli were temporally contiguous three-tone sequences within a 1/3 octave frequency range centered at 4000 Hz. For the discrimination task, listeners discerned differences between standard and comparison stimulus sequences that varied in tonal temporal order. For the identification task, listeners identified tone order of a single sequence using labels of relative pitch. Older listeners performed more poorly than younger listeners on the discrimination task for the more complex pitch patterns and on the identification task for faster stimulus presentation rates. The results also showed that order discrimination is easier than order identification for all listeners. The effects of hearing loss on the ordering tasks were minimal.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (R01 AG09191) of the National Institutes of Health. The authors are grateful to Linda Carr-Kraft and Hillary Crowley, for their assistance in data collection for this project, and to John Grose and two anonymous reviewers, for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper.
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