Aging and High-Frequency Hearing Sensitivity As part of a large population-based study of hearing and aging, ultra highfrequency (9–20 kHz) threshold measures are reported for 3396 participants grouped by age (48–59 years, n=1233; 60–69 years, n=1031; 70–79 years, n=851; 80–92 years, n=281). Ultra high-frequency (UHF) thresholds were higher for older age groups. The percentage of ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 1998
Aging and High-Frequency Hearing Sensitivity
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Terry L. Wiley
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Karen J. Cruickshanks
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • David M. Nondahl
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Ted S. Tweed
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Ronald Klein
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Barbara E. K. Klein
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Contact author: Terry L. Wiley, Department of Communicative Disorders, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1975 Willow Drive, Madison, WI 53706. Email: tlwiley@facstaff.wisc.edu
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 1998
Aging and High-Frequency Hearing Sensitivity
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1998, Vol. 41, 1061-1072. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4105.1061
History: Received January 5, 1998 , Accepted March 16, 1998
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1998, Vol. 41, 1061-1072. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4105.1061
History: Received January 5, 1998; Accepted March 16, 1998

As part of a large population-based study of hearing and aging, ultra highfrequency (9–20 kHz) threshold measures are reported for 3396 participants grouped by age (48–59 years, n=1233; 60–69 years, n=1031; 70–79 years, n=851; 80–92 years, n=281). Ultra high-frequency (UHF) thresholds were higher for older age groups. The percentage of unmeasurable responses also was significantly higher for older age groups and for higher frequencies in the UHF range. The observed age effects remained significant after adjusting for gender. In general, UHF thresholds were significantly higher for men compared to those for women at lower UHF frequencies (9–14 kHz), but were not significantly different by gender for the highest UHF frequencies (16, 18, and 20 kHz). After accounting for hearing loss at traditional audiometric frequencies (250–8000 Hz), the age effect still remained; even for comparable degrees of sensorineural hearing loss, participants in older age groups evidenced higher UHF thresholds.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported in part by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIH R01 AG11099). The authors wish to thank Dayna Dalton, Lorraine Danforth, Brenda Dixon Kiesow, Rebecca Gebhardt, Moneen Meuer, and Michael Popelka for their assistance in data collection, Richard Chappell for his guidance in statistical analyses, and Cynthia Fowler for her editorial suggestions on an earlier draft of the manuscript. Portions of this work were presented at the 1996 meeting of the American Academy of Audiology, Salt Lake City, UT.
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