Cochlear Synaptopathy: A Primary Factor Affecting Speech Recognition Performance in Presbycusis.

Journal: BioMed Research International
Abstract

The results of recent animal studies have suggested that cochlear synaptopathy may be an important factor involved in presbycusis. Therefore, here, we aimed to examine whether cochlear synaptopathy frequently exists in patients with presbycusis and to describe the effect of cochlear synaptopathy on speech recognition in noise. Based on the medical history and an audiological examination, 94 elderly patients with bilateral, symmetrical, sensorineural hearing loss were diagnosed as presbycusis. An electrocochleogram, auditory brainstem responses, auditory cortical evoked potentials, and speech audiometry were recorded to access the function of the auditory pathway. First, 65 ears with hearing levels of 41-50 dB HL were grouped based on the summating potential/action potential (SP/AP) ratio, and the amplitudes of AP and SP were compared between the two resulting groups. Second, 188 ears were divided into two groups: the normal SP/AP and abnormal SP/AP groups. The speech recognition abilities in the two groups were compared. Finally, the relationship between abnormal electrocochleogram and poor speech recognition (signal-to-noise ratio loss ≥7 dB) was analyzed in 188 ears. The results of the present study showed: (1) a remarkable reduction in the action potential amplitude was observed in patients with abnormal SP/AP ratios; this suggests that cochlear synaptopathy was involved in presbycusis. (2) There was a large proportion of patients with poor speech recognition in the abnormal SP/AP group. Furthermore, a larger number of cases with abnormal SP/AP ratios were confirmed among patients with presbycusis and poor speech recognition. We concluded that cochlear synaptopathy is not uncommon among elderly individuals who have hearing ability deficits, and it may have a more pronounced effect on ears with declining auditory performance in noisy environments.

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Authors
Zhe Chen, anmei Zhang, unbo Zhang, ui Zhou, hen Zhong, haogang Wei, ing Chen, uhe Liu
Relevant Conditions

Hearing Loss

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