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Susceptibility to interference by music and speech maskers in middle-aged adults
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Older listeners commonly complain about difficulty in understanding speech in noise. Previous studies have shown an age effect for both speech and steady noise maskers, and it is largest for speech maskers. In the present study, speech reception thresholds (SRTs) measured with competing speech, music, and steady noise maskers significantly differed between young (19 to 26 years) and middle-aged (51 to 63 years) adults. SRT differences ranged from 2.1 dB for competing speech, 0.4–1.6 dB for music maskers, and 0.8 dB for steady noise. The data suggest that aging effects are already evident in middle-aged adults without significant hearing impairment.
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