The association between the processing of binaural temporal-fine-structure information and audiometric threshold and age: a meta-analysis

2020-07-03T15:58:30Z (GMT) by Christian Fullgrabe Brian CJ Moore
The ability to process binaural temporal fine structure (TFS) information, which influences the perception of speech in spatially distributed soundscapes, declines with increasing hearing loss and age. Because of the relatively small sample sizes used in previous studies, and the population-unrepresentative distribution of hearing loss and ages within study samples, it has been difficult to determine the relative and combined contributions of hearing loss and age. The aim of this study was to survey published and unpublished studies that assessed binaural TFS sensitivity using the TFS-low frequency (LF) test. Results from 19 studies were collated, yielding sample sizes of 147 to 648, depending on the test frequency. At least for the test frequency of 500 Hz, there were at least 67 listeners in each of four adult age groups and the distribution of audiometric thresholds at the test frequency within each group was similar to that for the population as a whole. Binaural TFS sensitivity declined with increasing age across the adult lifespan and with increasing hearing loss in old adulthood. For all test frequencies, both audiometric threshold and age were significantly negatively correlated with TFS-LF sensitivity (r ranging from −0.19 to −0.64) but the correlation was always significantly higher for age than for audiometric threshold. Regression analyses showed that the standardized regression coefficient was greater for age than for audiometric threshold, and that there was a significant interaction; the effect of increasing age among older listeners was greater when the hearing loss was ≥30 dB than when it was < 30 dB.