Frequency and intensity discrimination measured in a maximum-likelihood procedure from young and aged normal-hearing subjects

J Acoust Soc Am. 1998 Jan;103(1):553-65. doi: 10.1121/1.421127.


A maximum-likelihood method was applied in measurements of frequency and intensity discrimination for aged and young normal-hearing subjects with closely matched audiograms. This method was preferred over other psychophysical procedures because it is efficient and controls experimental variance, features that are highly desirable for testing aged subjects. In order to implement the method, psychometric functions for each task were also measured from young subjects using a constant-stimuli procedure. For the young subjects, the differential thresholds obtained from these two procedures were generally comparable. Further, both sets of data were consistent with previous literature, indicating that the maximum-likelihood method was successfully applied for frequency and intensity discrimination. A frequency-dependent difference between young and aged subjects in both frequency and intensity discrimination was observed. Even with closely matched audiograms, aged subjects demonstrated poorer discrimination abilities than young subjects. The age-related difference was always largest at 500 Hz and decreased as frequency increased.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Hearing / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged