Age and sex differences in the brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) were investigated in older (60 to 79 yrs), middle-aged (40 to 59 yrs), and young (20 to 39 yrs) individuals. Within each age group the number of males (N=10) and females (N=10) were divided equally. Scalp potentials were recorded from the vertex to clicks presented at 60, 70, and 80 dB(SL) for stimulus rates of 5, 10, and 15 clicks/sec. Results indicated that older adults had longer latencies at Wave III than either middle-aged or young adults. Age effects were also found for Waves I, II, and IV but were restricted to the lowest intensity and were more evident in older males than females. Significant sex effects showed that the females in each group had shorter Wave IV and V latencies than males. The results suggest that age affects neural propagation at the level of the olivary complex (Wave III) and that BAER latencies are also influenced by the sex of the individual.
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