Listening difficulties in children: Bottom-up and top-down contributions

MRC Institute of Hearing Research, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK. Electronic address: .
Journal of Communication Disorders (Impact Factor: 1.45). 06/2012; 45(6):411-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcomdis.2012.06.006
Source: PubMed


The brain mechanisms of hearing include large regions of the anterior temporal, prefrontal, and inferior parietal cortex, and an extensive network of descending connections between the cortex and sub-cortical components of what is presently known as the auditory system. One important function of these additional ('top-down') mechanisms for hearing is to modulate the ascending, sensory ('bottom-up') auditory information from the ear. In children, normal, immature hearing during the first decade of life is more strongly influenced by top-down mechanisms than in adulthood. In some children, impaired top-down function presents a significant challenge to their auditory perception, often associated with a range of language and learning difficulties and sometimes called auditory processing disorder. Learning outcomes: Readers will be able to (a) discuss the difference between and integration of auditory information in the ascending, descending, and cortical auditory centres, (b) state alternate interpretations of normal maturation of human hearing in typical children, (c) explain how sensory and cognitive contributions to auditory temporal and spectral processing may be teased apart, (d) discuss how listening difficulties may be assessed in children, and (e) critically assess whether APD is really an auditory problem or may be symptomatic of a broader neurodevelopmental disorder.

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    • "Such auditory processing disorders (APD) are by definition not accompanied by changes in the pure tone audiometry, but rather encapsulate a variety of impediments that influence the way complex acoustic signals are processed by the brain (Hendler et al., 1990; Humes et al., 2013; Ludwig et al., 2014; Moore, 2006). It is important to emphasize that APDs can occur despite normal peripheral hearing and need to be demarcated from cognitive or language related disorders (Moore, 2012). Individuals with APD experience difficulties in various auditory tasks including sound localization. "
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    ABSTRACT: The sense of hearing is the fastest of our senses and provides the first all-or-none action potential in the auditory nerve in less than four milliseconds. Short stimulus evoked latencies and their minimal variability are hallmarks of auditory processing from spiral ganglia to cortex. Here, we review how even small changes in first spike latencies (FSL) and their variability (jitter) impact auditory temporal processing. We discuss a number of mouse models with degraded FSL/jitter whose mutations occur exclusively in the central auditory system and therefore might serve as candidates to investigate the cellular mechanisms underlying auditory processing disorders (APD). Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Hearing research 06/2015; 32. DOI:10.1016/j.heares.2015.06.014 · 2.97 Impact Factor
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    • "Central Auditory Processing (CAP) and their disorders (Central Auditory Processing Disorders; CAPD) is a growing field of interest, as suggested by the wide literature on the topic [1], [2], [3], [4]. CAP refers to the processing of acoustic stimuli by the central nervous system. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed at investigating the development of central auditory processes and their links with language skills. Seventy nine typically developing children divided up in five levels groups were recruited among primary schools. The development of central auditory processes was assessed with three main tasks. A lateralization task, a discrimination task and a central masking task were presented. These tasks were selected as each of them may correspond to important auditory processes underlying different speech abilities, and thus playing a role on its development. Verbal skills were evaluated on three levels: comprehension, vocabulary (lexical or verbal IQ), and phonological awareness. Results confirmed a developmental effect both on auditory and verbal skills. In addition, vocabulary and phonological awareness performances correlated with auditory skills, highlighting links between central auditory processing and language development.
    Interspeech; 08/2013
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    • "While the ascending, sensory system is largely mature by 2 years of age (Moore, 2002), more central and cognitive functions continue to develop into adolescence and even adulthood (e.g., Bishop et al., 2011; Moore and Linthicum, 2007). It is likely therefore that cognitive limitations will play a greater role than sensory limitations in children's difficulties in performing perceptual tasks (see Moore, 2012). Indeed, Halliday et al. (2008) provided evidence in support of this suggestion by training 6-11 year old children on a frequency discrimination task with a fixed standard frequency. "
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    ABSTRACT: Internal noise is ubiquitous to information processing systems in the brain. It can originate in low-level, sensory systems (e.g., stochastic neural firing) or high-level cognitive functions (e.g., fluctuations in attention). Added to inefficiencies associated with the decision making process, it compromises our ability to make perceptual judgements even under ideal conditions (i.e., in the absence of external noise). We present evidence herein that performance-limiting internal noise and inefficiency of various origins can be reduced through training, resulting in improved behavioural performance. We promote the view that reducing or even removing these limiting processes is what defines perceptual learning, and that transfer of learning to untrained tasks critically depends on those tasks having a limiting process in common with the trained task. We present implications of this view for our understanding of perceptual learning during development and in atypical populations, as well as to the more practical aspects of designing perceptual and cognitive training programmes that will demonstrate benefits beyond the training tasks themselves.
    4th International Symposium on Auditory and Audiological Research, Nyborg, Denmark; 08/2013
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