Auditory Frequency Discrimination in Children With Specific Language Impairment A Longitudinal Study Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2005
Auditory Frequency Discrimination in Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • P. R. Hill
    Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom
  • J. H. Hogben
    University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
  • D. M. V. Bishop
    Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2005
Auditory Frequency Discrimination in Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2005, Vol. 48, 1136-1146. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/080)
History: Received July 17, 2003 , Revised December 3, 2003 , Accepted January 10, 2005
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2005, Vol. 48, 1136-1146. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/080)
History: Received July 17, 2003; Revised December 3, 2003; Accepted January 10, 2005
Web of Science® Times Cited: 44

It has been proposed that specific language impairment (SLI) is caused by an impairment of auditory processing, but it is unclear whether this problem affects temporal processing, frequency discrimination (FD), or both. Furthermore, there are few longitudinal studies in this area, making it hard to establish whether any deficit represents a developmental lag or a more permanent deficit. To address these issues, the authors retested a group of 10 children with SLI and 12 control children first tested 42 months previously. At Time 1, the children with SLI (between 9 and 12 years of age) had significantly elevated FD thresholds compared to the matched controls. At Time 2, the thresholds of both groups had improved, but the children with SLI still had poorer FD thresholds than those of the controls. To assess temporal resolution, auditory backward masking was measured and it was found that most of the children with SLI performed as well as the controls, but 2 children had exceptionally high thresholds. There was also greater variability among the children with SLI compared to that measured among the controls on the FD task. These studies indicate considerable heterogeneity in auditory function among children with SLI and suggest that, as with auditory temporal deficits, difficulties in FD discrimination are important in this population.

Acknowledgments
We thank the Wellcome Trust and the Experimental Psychology Society (United Kingdom) for their generous financial support, and Joanna Kidd and Veronica Edwards.
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