The Effect of Citalopram Versus a Placebo on Central Auditory Processing in the Elderly

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Evaluate the effects of therapy with citalopram on the central auditory processing in the elderly measured by central auditory tests.

Study Design:

Prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.


Tertiary referral center.


Thirty-nine patients older than 60 years with normal hearing thresholds or symmetrical sensorineural hearing loss up to 70 dBHL, word-recognition score equal to or better than 70%, and diagnosed with central auditory processing disorders completed the study. They underwent the mini-mental state examination, as a way to screen those with the possibility of dementia; they also underwent the Beck depression inventory, for screening individuals with depression.


Citalopram 20 mg/d or placebo for 6 months.


Main Outcome Measure: The central auditory tests were applied to the selection of individuals with auditory processing disorders and repeated after 6 months’ treatment. The tests were sound localization, speech in noise, dichotic digits test, pitch pattern sequence, duration pattern test, and gaps-in-noise.


Comparisons of central auditory tests pre- and posttreatment in groups showed: sound localization (p = 0.022), pitch pattern sequence humming (p = 0.110), pitch pattern sequence nomination (p = 0.355), duration pattern test humming (p = 0.801), duration pattern test nomination (p = 0.614), and gaps-in-noise (p = 0.230). Dichotic tests in right and left ears respectively: speech in noise (p = 0.949; p = 0.722), dichotic digits test (p = 0.943; p = 0.513).


Conclusion: There was no clinical effect with the use of citalopram in central auditory processing tests of the subjects.

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