Extended High-Frequency Thresholds in Older Adults Most measures of auditory sensitivity at extended high frequencies (frequencies greater than 8 kHz) have been obtained from listeners with normal hearing less than 40 years of age. The purpose of this study was (a) to measure thresholds at frequencies above 8 kHz in older listeners who, as a group, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1997
Extended High-Frequency Thresholds in Older Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lois J. Matthews
    Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Sciences Medical University of South Carolina Charleston
  • Fu-Shing Lee
    Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Sciences Medical University of South Carolina Charleston
  • John H. Mills
    Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Sciences Medical University of South Carolina Charleston
  • Judy R. Dubno
    Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Sciences Medical University of South Carolina Charleston
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: matthelj@musc.edu
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1997
Extended High-Frequency Thresholds in Older Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1997, Vol. 40, 208-214. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4001.208
History: Received May 30, 1996 , Accepted September 19, 1996
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1997, Vol. 40, 208-214. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4001.208
History: Received May 30, 1996; Accepted September 19, 1996

Most measures of auditory sensitivity at extended high frequencies (frequencies greater than 8 kHz) have been obtained from listeners with normal hearing less than 40 years of age. The purpose of this study was (a) to measure thresholds at frequencies above 8 kHz in older listeners who, as a group, have elevated thresholds at lower frequencies, and (b) to assess test-retest reliability, age and gender effects, and the influence of thresholds below 8 kHz. Extended high-frequency (EHF) thresholds were measured for 162 older listeners (60–79 years) using a commercially available high-frequency audiometer, with a frequency range of 8 to 18 kHz and an intensity range of 0 to 110 dB SPL. Thresholds were measured once at the beginning of a 1- to 2-hour test session and then remeasured at the end of the test session. EHF thresholds of older listeners with normal hearing at conventional audiometric frequencies were substantially higher than the thresholds reported for younger listeners with normal hearing by Dreschler and van der Hulst (1987). EHF thresholds of older listeners with hearing loss at conventional audiometric frequencies were further elevated as compared to older listeners with normal hearing. Differences in EHF thresholds between females and males were either not present or were reduced when gender differences in conventional audiometric thresholds were taken into account. No significant differences were seen in thresholds at 8 kHz and higher between the 60- to 69- and 70- to 79-year-old age groups. Results also indicated that thresholds above 8 kHz can be measured in older listeners within a clinically acceptable ±10 dB test-retest range.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by research grant number P01-DC00422 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and the Office of Research on Women's Health, National Institutes of Health. The authors wish to thank Elizabeth Poth for her helpful comments on previous drafts of this paper.
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