Speech perception depends on the CNS ability to perceive and analyze acoustic information presented in a given period of time. Such ability is called Auditory Temporal Processing, and it can be divided in temporal sequencing, temporal resolution, temporal integration, and temporal masking. It is believed that due to the physiological degeneration related to aging, the auditory temporal processing of various types of sound may be affected. The objective of this study is to investigate the influence of auditory aging in a temporal masking task, by comparing the performance of elderly people (n = 20) to the performance of young adults (n = 20) who do not have hearing loss. The test to be applied was developed in another study, still in progress, and consist of the presentation of a 20ms target tone (1000 Hz) followed by a masking noise 200ms (600-1400Hz) with intervals between stimuli ranging from 0 to 400ms. We will determine the percentage of correct answers and the interval threshold at which each individual perceives the target tone. Due to the involvement of both sensory and cognitive processing in the backward temporal masking phenomenon, our hypothesis is that the elderly group will present poorer performance than the group of young adults.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: