Table of Contents
Asian Journal of Neuroscience
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 304057, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/304057
Research Article

Effects of Meditation on Temporal Processing and Speech Perceptual Skills in Younger and Older Adults

1Department of Audiology, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Manasagangotri, Mysore, India
2National Center for Audiology, Elborn College, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada N6G 1H1
3National Hearing Care, Suite 2, Northbourne Avenue, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Received 12 June 2013; Accepted 17 July 2013

Academic Editors: M.-c. Cheung and M. L. Seghier

Copyright © 2013 Uppunda Ajith Kumar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to assess the temporal processing and speech perception abilities in older adults who were practicing meditation for more than five years. Participants were comprised of three groups, 30 young adults (“YA”) in the age range of 20–30 years, 30 older adults in the age range of 50–65 years who practiced meditation for a period of five years or more (effective meditators “EM”), and 51 age matched older adults who did not have any experience of meditation (non-meditators “NM”). Temporal processing was evaluated using gap detection in noise, duration discrimination, modulation detection, and backward masking and duration pattern tests. Speech perception was measured in presence of a four-talker babble at −5 dB signal to noise ratio and with the vocoded stimuli. Results revealed that EM group performed significantly better than NM group in all psychophysical and speech perception tasks except in gap detection task. In the gap detection task, two groups did not differ significantly. Furthermore, EM group showed significantly better modulation detection thresholds compared to YA. Results of the study demonstrate that the practice of meditation not only offsets the decline in temporal and speech processing abilities due to aging process but also improves the ability to perceive the modulations compared to young adults.