Aging and high-frequency hearing sensitivity

J Speech Lang Hear Res. 1998 Oct;41(5):1061-72. doi: 10.1044/jslhr.4105.1061.


As part of a large population-based study of hearing and aging, ultra high-frequency (9-20 kHz) threshold measures are reported for 3396 participants grouped by age (48-59 years, n = 1233; 60-69 years, n = 1031; 70-79 years, n = 851; 80-92 years, n = 281). Ultra high-frequency (UHF) thresholds were higher for older age groups. The percentage of unmeasurable responses also was significantly higher for older age groups and for higher frequencies in the UHF range. The observed age effects remained significant after adjusting for gender. In general, UHF thresholds were significantly higher for men compared to those for women at lower UHF frequencies (9-14 kHz), but were not significantly different by gender for the highest UHF frequencies (16, 18, and 20 kHz). After accounting for hearing loss at traditional audiometric frequencies (250-8000 Hz), the age effect still remained; even for comparable degrees of sensorineural hearing loss, participants in older age groups evidenced higher UHF thresholds.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Auditory Threshold
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors