We examined the effects of stimulus complexity and stimulus presentation rate in ten younger and ten older normal-hearing adults. A 1 kHz tone burst as well as a speech syllable were used to elicit the N1-P2 complex. Three different interstimulus intervals (ISI) were used (510, 910, and 1510 msec). When stimuli were presented at the medium presentation rate (910 msec ISI), N1 and P2 latencies were prolonged for older listeners in response to the speech stimulus but not the tone stimulus. These age effects were absent when stimuli were presented at a slower rate (1510 msec ISI). Results from this study suggest that rapidly occurring stimulus onsets, either within a stimulus or between stimuli, result in prolonged N1 and P2 responses in older adults. This is especially true when processing complex stimuli such as speech. One potential explanation for this age effect might be age-related refractory differences in younger and older auditory systems. Refractory issues might in turn affect synchronized neural activity underlying the perception of critical time-varying speech cues and may partially explain some of the difficulties older people experience understanding speech.
- Auditory evoked potentials aging
- Cortical evoked potentials aging
- N1-P2 complex and aging
- Speech understanding and aging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Speech and Hearing