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Speech Perception in Geriatric Population

Irfana M., Garima M., Sanil S.


Ageing is one of the characteristic features seen in organisms of the animal kingdom; after birth via ageing first the development and maturation take place which when progresses with time results in degeneration and ultimately ends with the end of the life cycle of the organism. As humans are no different; our maturation phase starts right after birth, which results in complete maturation by the time humans reach adulthood [1]. People with older age find difficulty in understanding and perceiving speech as with age and also some other causes such as reduced hearing sensitivity, degeneration of neurons and loss of sensory structures like hair cells etc. The present study is based on how people with older age and younger-aged individuals perceive speech information after listening to it and comment on the most evident cause behind the results. Also, to discuss the changes in cognitive behavioral changes that can be observed along with for both the populations. A total of 80 subjects in which 40 individuals each within the age range from 8–13 years and 55–65 years of age were taken for the study with normal hearing and no speech language cognitive deficit. Speech stimuli were recorded of two sounds of voiced and unvoiced bilabials i.e. /b/ and /p/ in a sound-treated room from an adult male speaker having Hindi as the first language. The recordings were made into a /b/-/p/ continuum by clipping 5 pitch periods from voiced bilabial stop /b/ consonant in 7 stages. Individually the stimuli were presented and instructed to identify the phoneme in the continuum using AXB method. The recorded responses were analyzed for the percentage of response for each pitch period and statistically analyzed using SPSS. The average percentage in geriatric population that, were able to perceive the difference in the presented stimuli was more than 50% as /b/ changes to /p/. The results obtained from pediatric and geriatric population-based on speech perception depict that the perception of pediatric population remained same across the trials despite of random presentation of a stimulus. Pediatrics perceived phoneme /b/ as /b/ irrespective of duration, whereas, more than 50% of geriatrics started perceiving the difference in the initial two trials when the pitch period was increased to 30 msec and in the third trial this difference in perception was seen when the pitch period was 25 msec. These results clearly stated that speech perception is intact in pediatrics due to neural integrity and development, but as age progresses the neural degeneration occurs and hence affects speech perception in geriatrics. A similar study conducted by Patterson et al. [1] stated that as the age of listeners progressed a loss in frequency selectivity was observed.


Keywords: maturation, speech perception, geriatric–pediatric, neural integrity



Cite this Article

Irfana M, Garima M, Sanil S. Speech Perception in Geriatric Population. Research & Reviews: A Journal of Bioinformatics. 2019; 6(2): 1–3p.

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