Auditory development and the role of experience

University Laboratory of Physiology, Oxford, UK.
British Medical Bulletin (Impact Factor: 3.66). 02/2002; 63(1):171-81. DOI: 10.1093/bmb/63.1.171
Source: PubMed


The human ear is functionally mature shortly after birth, but the central auditory system continues to develop for at least the first decade of life. Current interest focuses on the relation between the very late developing aspects of hearing and other aspects of cognition and behaviour. While active neural input to the brain is essential during the very early stages of development, auditory experience is now thought to be a powerful influence on central function throughout an individual's lifespan. Studies of sound localization and hearing with two ears have shown the capacity of the auditory system to adapt to altered environmental cues, even into adulthood. This environmental influence may either be harmful, as during conductive deafness, or beneficial, as evidenced by the positive outcomes of auditory training.

Download full-text


Available from: David R Moore, Oct 10, 2015
17 Reads
    • "However, such interaction between vocal and auditory systems during development has only been clearly demonstrated in higher vertebrates, namely songbirds and mammals (e.g. Moore, 2002; Miller-Sims and Bottjer, 2012). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Vocal differentiation is widely documented in birds and mammals but has been poorly investigated in other vertebrates, including fish, which represent the oldest extant vertebrate group. Neural circuitry controlling vocal behaviour is thought to have evolved from conserved brain areas that originated in fish, making this taxon key to understanding the evolution and development of the vertebrate vocal-auditory systems. This study examines ontogenetic changes in the vocal repertoire and whether vocal differentiation parallels auditory development in the Lusitanian toadfish Halobatrachus didactylus (Batrachoididae). This species exhibits a complex acoustic repertoire and is vocally active during early development. Vocalisations were recorded during social interactions for four size groups (fry: <2 cm; small juveniles: 2-4 cm; large juveniles: 5-7 cm; adults >25 cm, standard length). Auditory sensitivity of juveniles and adults was determined based on evoked potentials recorded from the inner ear saccule in response to pure tones of 75-945 Hz. We show an ontogenetic increment in the vocal repertoire from simple broadband-pulsed 'grunts' that later differentiate into four distinct vocalisations, including low-frequency amplitude-modulated 'boatwhistles'. Whereas fry emitted mostly single grunts, large juveniles exhibited vocalisations similar to the adult vocal repertoire. Saccular sensitivity revealed a three-fold enhancement at most frequencies tested from small to large juveniles; however, large juveniles were similar in sensitivity to adults. We provide the first clear evidence of ontogenetic vocal differentiation in fish, as previously described for higher vertebrates. Our results suggest a parallel development between the vocal motor pathway and the peripheral auditory system for acoustic social communication in fish.
    Journal of Experimental Biology 09/2015; 218(Pt 18):2864-2872. DOI:10.1242/jeb.123059 · 2.90 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Because the EEG ASSRs are dominated by brainstem responses at 80 Hz, but dominated by cortical response below about 50 Hz (Purcell et al., 2004), these findings can be taken as an indication of different developmental trajectories of temporal processing in the cortex and in peripheral regions (Moore, 2002). Interestingly, the magnitudes of responses at low repetition rates (i.e. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objective: This study investigated auditory cortical processing of linguistically-relevant temporal modulations in the developing brains of young children. Methods: Auditory envelope following responses to white noise amplitude modulated at rates of 1 - 80 Hz in healthy children (aged 3-5 years) and adults were recorded using a paediatric magnetoencephalography (MEG) system and a conventional MEG system, respectively. Results: For children, there were envelope following responses to slow modulations but no significant responses to rates higher than about 25 Hz, whereas adults showed significant envelope following responses to almost the entire range of stimulus rates. Conclusion: Our results show that the auditory cortex of preschool-aged children has a sharply limited capacity to process rapid amplitude modulations in sounds, as compared to the auditory cortex of adults. Significance: These neurophysiological results are consistent with previous psychophysical evidence for a protracted maturational time course for auditory temporal processing. The findings are also in good agreement with current linguistic theories that posit a perceptual bias for low frequency temporal information in speech during language acquisition. These insights also have clinical relevance for our understanding of language disorders that are associated with difficulties in processing temporal information in speech.
    Clinical Neurophysiology 07/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.clinph.2015.07.038 · 3.10 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Detection of simple signals in noise should also be susceptible to CHL-induced central auditory system changes. Auditory percepts that reach mature performance levels gradually are susceptible to central changes that can arise due to hearing loss-induced deprivation (Moore, 2002). In particular, for the detection of brief signals in noise (simultaneous masking), thresholds do not reach adult levels until 10 years of age or later in humans (Hartley et al., 2000; Huyck, personal communication). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Listeners with hearing loss have difficulty processing sounds in noisy environments. This is most noticeable for speech perception, but is reflected in a basic auditory processing task: detecting a tonal signal in a noise background, i.e., simultaneous masking. It is unresolved whether the mechanisms underlying simultaneous masking arise from the auditory periphery or from the central auditory system. Poor detection in listeners with sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is attributed to cochlear hair cell damage. However, hearing loss alters neural processing in the central auditory system. Additionally, both psychophysical and neurophysiological data from normally hearing and impaired listeners suggest that there are additional contributions to simultaneous masking that arise centrally. With SNHL, it is difficult to separate peripheral from central contributions to signal detection deficits. We have thus excluded peripheral contributions by using an animal model of early conductive hearing loss (CHL) that provides auditory deprivation but does not induce cochlear damage. When tested as adults, animals raised with CHL had increased thresholds for detecting tones in simultaneous noise. Furthermore, intracellular in vivo recordings in control animals revealed a cortical correlate of simultaneous masking: local cortical processing reduced tone-evoked responses in the presence of noise. This raises the possibility that altered cortical responses which occur with early CHL can influence even simple signal detection in noise.
    Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 09/2014; 8:162. DOI:10.3389/fnsys.2014.00162
Show more