Evaluating the effectiveness of dichotic training in the elderly adults: a single subject study
Background and Aim: Elderly people usually show poor performance in dichotic listening tasks. In this condition, the left ear being often the weaker one shows a performance below the normal limits. Studies have shown the effectiveness of dichotic listening training in auditory and language processing for adults and children with neurological disorders. This study aimed to develop a home-version of dichotic training and investigate its effectiveness in elderly adults.
Methods: Participants in this single-subject interventional study (AB design) were four elderly subjects (two males and two females) aged 65−75 years. The main inclusion criteria were dichotic listening deficit demonstrated by the dichotic digit test (DDT), no neurological or cognitive disorders, and normal hearing threshold. Dichotic listening training was performed with an informal home-version of dichotic interaural intensity difference (DIID) training program for seven weeks. DDT was performed seven consecutive weeks before (phase A) and after the intervention (phase B) at the end of each week.
Results: Data were analyzed by single-subject study statistics. Findings demonstrated an improvement in DDT scores for the left ear and decrease in right ear advantage scores in all the elderly adults after DIID training program. It seems that this training program could remediate poor performance in dichotic listening tasks in elderly people.
Conclusion: The advantage of this method is that it can be easily done at home and is cost-effective. However, further studies are needed to approve the neuroplasticity and structural changes in the brain after the DIID training program in this population.
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