The Neural Consequences of Age-Related Hearing Loss

Jonathan E. Peelle, Arthur Wingfield

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


During hearing, acoustic signals travel up the ascending auditory pathway from the cochlea to auditory cortex; efferent connections provide descending feedback. In human listeners, although auditory and cognitive processing have sometimes been viewed as separate domains, a growing body of work suggests they are intimately coupled. Here, we review the effects of hearing loss on neural systems supporting spoken language comprehension, beginning with age-related physiological decline. We suggest that listeners recruit domain general executive systems to maintain successful communication when the auditory signal is degraded, but that this compensatory processing has behavioral consequences: even relatively mild levels of hearing loss can lead to cascading cognitive effects that impact perception, comprehension, and memory, leading to increased listening effort during speech comprehension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)486-497
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Neurosciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • auditory cortex
  • language
  • listening effort
  • speech comprehension


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