Sensory Processing of Backward-Masking Signals in Children With Language-Learning Impairment As Assessed With the Auditory Brainstem Response The purpose of this study was to examine the possible contribution of sensory mechanisms to an auditory processing deficit shown by some children with language-learning impairment (LLI). Auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) were measured from 2 groups of school-aged (8–10 years) children. One group consisted of 10 children with LLI, and ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2005
Sensory Processing of Backward-Masking Signals in Children With Language-Learning Impairment As Assessed With the Auditory Brainstem Response
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jeffrey A. Marler
    Michigan State University, East Lansing
  • Craig A. Champlin
    University of Texas at Austin
  • Contact author: Jeffrey A. Marler, PhD, now at Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Health and Human Services Building, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22807.
    Contact author: Jeffrey A. Marler, PhD, now at Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Health and Human Services Building, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22807.×
  • Corresponding author: E-mail: marlerja@jmu.edu
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2005
Sensory Processing of Backward-Masking Signals in Children With Language-Learning Impairment As Assessed With the Auditory Brainstem Response
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2005, Vol. 48, 189-203. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/014)
History: Received January 7, 2003 , Accepted April 5, 2004
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2005, Vol. 48, 189-203. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/014)
History: Received January 7, 2003; Accepted April 5, 2004
Web of Science® Times Cited: 21

The purpose of this study was to examine the possible contribution of sensory mechanisms to an auditory processing deficit shown by some children with language-learning impairment (LLI). Auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) were measured from 2 groups of school-aged (8–10 years) children. One group consisted of 10 children with LLI, and the other group (control) consisted of 10 children with normally developing language. The ABR was elicited with a brief tone burst presented either alone (no-masking condition) or immediately followed by a longer duration noise burst (backward-masking condition). The primary dependent variable was the latency of wave V of the ABR. The mean latencies were not significantly different for the 2 groups in the no-masking condition. However, in the backward-masking condition, the mean latency for the LLI group was significantly increased relative to the mean latency for the control group. Thus, the presence of successive sounds delay the neural response in children with LLI. The explanation for this delay at the level of the brainstem is not known, but it may be due to disruption of synchrony, activation of alternate (less direct) pathways, increased inhibition, or some combination of these (or other) factors.

Acknowledgments
This work was partially supported by the Sparrgrove Endowment of the University of Texas and by a Doctoral Dissertation Grant from Shell Oil. Our gratitude is extended to all the families who participated in this study, to the speech-language pathologists and Directors of Special Education of the Pflugerville and Round Rock School districts, and to the Directors of Capital School and VIPs Tutoring Services of Austin. We thank Ron Gillam, Randy Diehl, Don Teas, and Dan Harris, for their helpful assistance in earlier manuscripts.
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