Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Influence of aging on human sound localization

By Marina S. Dobreva, William E. O'Neill and Gary D. Paige

Abstract

Errors in sound localization, associated with age-related changes in peripheral and central auditory function, can pose threats to self and others in a commonly encountered environment such as a busy traffic intersection. This study aimed to quantify the accuracy and precision (repeatability) of free-field human sound localization as a function of advancing age. Head-fixed young, middle-aged, and elderly listeners localized band-passed targets using visually guided manual laser pointing in a darkened room. Targets were presented in the frontal field by a robotically controlled loudspeaker assembly hidden behind a screen. Broadband targets (0.1–20 kHz) activated all auditory spatial channels, whereas low-pass and high-pass targets selectively isolated interaural time and intensity difference cues (ITDs and IIDs) for azimuth and high-frequency spectral cues for elevation. In addition, to assess the upper frequency limit of ITD utilization across age groups more thoroughly, narrowband targets were presented at 250-Hz intervals from 250 Hz up to ∼2 kHz. Young subjects generally showed horizontal overestimation (overshoot) and vertical underestimation (undershoot) of auditory target location, and this effect varied with frequency band. Accuracy and/or precision worsened in older individuals for broadband, high-pass, and low-pass targets, reflective of peripheral but also central auditory aging. In addition, compared with young adults, middle-aged, and elderly listeners showed pronounced horizontal localization deficiencies (imprecision) for narrowband targets within 1,250–1,575 Hz, congruent with age-related central decline in auditory temporal processing. Findings underscore the distinct neural processing of the auditory spatial cues in sound localization and their selective deterioration with advancing age

Topics: Articles
Publisher: American Physiological Society
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:3094163
Provided by: PubMed Central
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g... (external link)
  • Suggested articles


    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.