Tuesday, July 23, 2019 | Updated at 5:05 AM ET


New study says hearing loss not caused by ears, more details here

First Posted: Dec 01, 2016 03:07 PM EST
Hsi Lai Temple Health Fair

Photo : Marcus Yam / Contributor/ Getty Images

The older generations in the community are likely to have hearing difficulties. Some say that it is caused by the deterioration of the human ear structure. Meanwhile according to a new study, the seniors who may struggle to understand what people are saying around the dinner table or on a noisy street can have a normal hearing!

Why? In a report of WebMD, Jonathan Simon, a co-author of this new study mentioned that there may be trouble in processing conversations in a loud setting. It could imply that the brain's ability to quickly and easily process speech is diminished. The human brains can also get worse at processing the sounds of any conversation when there are other present sounds at the same time.

"the implication is that typical older adults need to exert more effort, and take more time, in order to understand what someone is saying to them when there's also noise, even only moderate noise, around them," Simon explained.

In addition based on statistics, one in three Americans aging from 65 to 74 years old has some degree of hearing loss. This is a data coming from the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

Moreover, Jonathan Simon and his team conducted a study which has included 17 young adults (18-27) and 15 older adults (aged 61 to 73). These participants had normal hearing and were dementia-free. As expected, younger adults have performed better than the seniors. The tests were done both in a quiet and noisy environment.

Well, the results indicated that the noisy place was really challenging for the seniors. Midbrain scans also indicated that the neurological signaling which is related to hearing was weaker among the seniors. Thus, this study suggests that the problem with the older folks' hearing can be traced in the age-related nerve impairment. This directly affects the signaling and communication between the nerve cells in the brain.

Meanwhile in Health Women report, this study was already published in Journal of Neurophysiology. Moreover, Jonathan Simon, Ph.D, one of the researchers behind this study is an associate professor in the University of Maryland.

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