Skip to main content

Dichotic integration: is it similar in the elderly and children?



Aging process is associated with central auditory changes, which may explain some understanding difficulties in elderly. It may be evaluated with the dichotic digits (DD) test, a widely used experimental paradigm for studying interhemispheric interactions.


This study was performed to evaluate dichotic integration ability in the elderly and children populations by comparing it with adults who acted as reference.

Research design

The study design was a cross-sectional one. It was conducted in Ain Shams University, Faculty of Medicine, Demerdash Hospital, Audiology Unit, for a period of 4 years. The study comprised 75 participants divided into three groups: the adult group, the elderly group, and the pediatric group.

Data collection and analysis

Basic Audiological Evaluation and the DD test in the free recall condition were carried out in all participants.


Results of this study suggest that central auditory processing concerning dichotic integration is different in children and elderly individuals when compared with adults. Moreover, there was no significant difference between elderly patients and children. The age had a direct correlation with DD test scores in children, but an inverse correlation in the elderly.


Dichotic integration as measured using the DD test is similar in the elderly and children, but in opposite directions with regard to its change with age progress.


  1. 1

    Helfer KS, Wilber LA. Hearing loss, aging, and speech perception in reverberation and noise. J Speech Hear Res 1990; 33:149–155.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Humes LE, Roberts L. Speech-recognition difficulties of the hearing-impaired elderly: the contributions of audibility. J Speech Hear Res 1990; 33:726–735.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Humes LE, Christopherson L. Speech identification difficulties of hearing-impaired elderly persons: the contributions of auditory processing deficits. J Speech Hear Res 1991; 34:686–693.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Working Group on Speech Understanding and Aging. Committee on Hearing, Bioacoustics, and Biomechanics, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council. J Acoustic Soc Am 1988; 83:859–895.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Tawfik S, Abdel Maksoud A, Weheiba H. Standardization of two binaural integration tests (dichotic digits & dichotic rhyme tests) in normal children [unpublished Master thesis]. Abbaseya, Cairo, Egypt: Ain Shams University; 2007.

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Kemper S. Language and aging. In: Craik F, Salthouse T, editors. The handbook of aging and cognition. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum; 1992: 213–270.

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Salthouse T. Speed of behavior and its implications for cognition. In: Birren J, Schaie K, editors. Handbook of the psychology of aging. 2nd ed. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., Inc; 1985: 400–426.

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Jerger J, Jordan C. Age-related asymmetry on a cued-listening task. Ear Hear 1992; 13:272–277.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Zenker F, Mora Espino R, Marro Cosialls S, De Lucas Carmona G, Fernández Belda R, Barajas JJ. The effect of age over the Dichotic Digit test. 8th EFAS Congress/10th Congress of the German Society of Audiology (2007)

  10. 10

    Heiran F, Mahdavi M, Baghban A, Heiran M. Free and focused attention in young and aged listeners using randomized dichotic digits test. Aud Vest Res (2015) 2015; 24:186–192.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tayseer T. Abdel Rahman.

Additional information

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License, which allows others to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as the author is credited and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.

Rights and permissions

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Rahman, T.T.A. Dichotic integration: is it similar in the elderly and children?. Egypt J Otolaryngol 33, 56–60 (2017).

Download citation


  • children
  • dichotic integration
  • effect of age
  • elderly
  • progression
  • regression