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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017, Article ID 2618587, 10 pages
Research Article

Auditory Processing Abilities of Parkinson’s Disease Patients

1National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, VA Portland Medical Center, Portland, OR, USA
2Department of Otolaryngology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA
3Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA
4Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Robert L. Folmer; vog.av@remlof.trebor

Received 10 January 2017; Revised 3 April 2017; Accepted 16 April 2017; Published 4 May 2017

Academic Editor: Erwin van Wegen

Copyright © 2017 Robert L. Folmer 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.


Since Parkinson’s Disease (PD) primarily affects older people, a majority of PD patients have age-related hearing loss (HL) that will worsen over time. The goal of this study was to assess peripheral and central auditory functions in a population of PD patients and compare the results with a group of age-matched control subjects. Study participants included 35 adults with PD (mean age = 66.9 ± 11.2 years) and a group of 35 healthy control subjects (mean age = 65.4 ± 12.3 years). Assessments included questionnaires, neuropsychological tests, audiometric testing, and a battery of central auditory processing tests. Both study groups exhibited patterns of sensorineural hearing loss (slightly worse in the PD group) which were typical for their age and would contribute to difficulties in communication for many participants. Compared to the control group, PD patients reported greater difficulty in hearing words people are speaking. Although 27 PD patients (77%) were good candidates for amplification, only 7 (26%) of these hearing aid candidates used the devices. Because it is important for PD patients to optimize communication with their family members, caregivers, friends, and clinicians, it is vital to identify and remediate auditory dysfunction in this population as early as possible.