ABR and the Impact of Aging
Konrad-Martin et al (2012) obtained auditory brainstem response (ABR) measures from veterans (ranging in age from 26 to 71 years) to evaluate click rate and the impact of advancing age on the ABR. Amplitude and latency for waves I, III, and V as well as the I-V interpeak interval were analyzed. Repetition rates of 11, 51, and 71 clicks per second were evaluated, as were rarefaction and condensation polarities.
The authors note that aging does reduce the amplitude of these same primary peaks (I and III) and aging contributed significantly to latency shifts only in waves I and III. However, aging did not impact the I-V interpeak interval. Further, they note over a 40-year period, wave V latency increases 0.214 msec, which is not significant.
Konrad-Martin et al suggest aging reduces the quantity and/or synchrony of responding auditory nerve units. With regard to central ABR generators, they suggest aging decreases the number or responding central units, but not the synchrony of the responding units. They report it is “tempting to speculate that the major impact of aging is a reduction in the numbers, rather than the synchrony, of ABR generators.”
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
Janssen RM, Usher L, Stapells DR.(2010) The British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital Tone Evoked Auditory Brainstem Response Protocol: How Long Do Infants Sleep and How Much Information Can Be Obtained In One Appointment? Ear &Hearing 31(5):722–724.
Konrad-Martin D, Dille MF, McMillan G, Griest S, McDermott D, Fausti SA, Austin DF. (2012) Age-Related Changes in the Auditory Brainstem Response. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 23:18–35.