Navigation Links
Aging Brain May Contribute to Some Hearing Loss
Date:2/17/2009

Reduction in size of auditory cortex might lead to problems, study suggests

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Difficulty recognizing words in loud settings is a common concern for older people, and new research suggests the problem may involve more than hearing loss, but rather age-related structural changes in the brain.

"We found that a small portion of the brain's auditory cortex is closely related to word recognition, and that structural change in the volume of this area is associated with recognition problems in older patients," said study author Kelly C. Harris, an assistant professor in the department of otolaryngology head and neck surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Harris is scheduled to present her preliminary findings Sunday at the 2009 Midwinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, in Baltimore.

The National Institute on Aging estimates that about one-third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 experience hearing loss -- a number that rises to 50 percent among people 85 and older.

To gauge the role that age-related brain changes might play in hearing loss, the study authors conducted hearing exercises while using MRI to scan the brains of 18 younger adults between the ages of 19 and 39, and 18 older adults between the ages of 61 and 79.

While undergoing the scans, all the participants were tested on their ability to identify certain words, with some words filtered to reduce intelligibility. The researchers found that in "challenging listening conditions," the older adults were generally much worse at recognizing words than younger adults.

Even after accounting for the loss of high-frequency hearing that typically accompanies old age, the researchers found that the poorer performance among the older adults was linked to a reduction in the size of small portions of the auditory cortex, a section of gray matter in the brain that controls hearing.

This could ultimately explain how and why some hearing problems worsen with age.

Harris suggested that, with further research, the findings might improve rehabilitation efforts to help older people cope with particular hearing difficulties.

"Hearing aids don't help all older adults," she noted. "They can improve audibility for many, but there are additional problems going on at the level of the brain that need to be addressed."

Robert D. Frisina, a professor of otolaryngology, biomedical engineering, and neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Rochester in New York, called the new research "a very promising and pioneering study."

"The idea that the brain plays a role in hearing loss as we age is not new," he said. "There are past indications of that. But this is the first study I've heard of to explore this idea in a new way by use imaging in humans, and that's exciting and provides this finding with some sizzle. And locating evidence of the problem in the gray matter part of the brain -- where neural processing goes on, as opposed to the white matter which is the communication zone, so to speak -- is also pretty new and important."

More information

To learn more about aging and hearing loss, visit the U.S. National Institute on Aging.



SOURCES: Kelly C. Harris, Ph.D., assistant professor, otolaryngology head and neck surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston; Robert D. Frisina, Ph.D., professor, otolaryngology, biomedical engineering, and neurobiology and anatomy, University of Rochester, N.Y.; Feb. 15, 2009, Midwinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, Baltimore


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Stanford researchers find culprit in aging muscles that heal poorly
2. Brain imaging reveals breakdown of normal emotional processing
3. Clarity Imaging International, Inc. Rolls Out Mobile DEXA Program
4. Oncologists are critical in managing psychiatric disorders in patients with advanced cancer
5. Fry Construction Selected for High-Profile Medical Imaging Project
6. September is Healthy Aging Month
7. The era of global aging: GSAs annual meeting to present new research on hot topics in aging
8. Elbit Medical Imaging Ltd. Announces Publication of a Prospectus in Israel
9. U.S. Health Initiative Targets Aging Hispanics
10. Ultrasonix Adds Global Medical Imaging Into Its North American Sales Force
11. Imaging Software Helps Track, Treat Injured Brains
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/13/2016)... ... February 13, 2016 , ... In the early or “honeymoon” stage of a ... go out of their way to be romantic, and may exaggerate a strength or ... any online dating profile. , A recent study from Queendom.com , however, ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... ... a new initiative—the Siemens Foundation-PATH Ingenuity Fellowships—to develop the advanced skills needed ... top students from U.S. universities who will draw from Siemens’ deep knowledge ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 12, 2016 , ... As a ... hectic schedule, a demanding job, and no time to decompress, Rabinowitz found herself drawn ... herself to meditation for its impact on her life, implementing a 20-minute-per-day meditation practice ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... Every winter, someone is killed, injured ... West Penn Burn Center, part of the Allegheny Health Network, has partnered ... you the “Space Heaters Need Space” campaign. , “Space Heaters Need Space” ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... 12, 2016 , ... Erlanger Agency has announced a new partnership in its ... campaign focuses on the fight against breast cancer, fundraising for a local woman named ... . , Carmen is a loving single mother of two boys who also serves ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... MONTREAL , February 12, 2016 ... sofern nicht anders vermerkt)   ... Unternehmens http://www.telestatherapeutics.com abrufbar.    ... Website des Unternehmens http://www.telestatherapeutics.com ... Inc. (TSX:TST; PNK:BNHLF) veröffentlichte heute seinen Konzernabschluss ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... 12, 2016  SI-BONE, Inc., a medical device company that pioneered ... minimally invasive surgical (MIS) device indicated for fusion for certain disorders ... (NGS), the Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) covering the states of ... Maine , Massachusetts , Minnesota ... York , Rhode Island , ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... , Feb. 12, 2016  Memorial Hermann Health System ... Dwight Howard to bring a one-of-a-kind experience to ... Using cutting-edge technologies such as 360-degree video and Google ... virtually, then literally – giving the patients and their ... it was all caught on video . ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: