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Sensitivity to Temporal Fine Structure Predicts Language Abilities in Children with Hearing Loss

Cabrera, L; Halliday, L; (2020) Sensitivity to Temporal Fine Structure Predicts Language Abilities in Children with Hearing Loss. (In press).

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Abstract

Children with even mild or moderate levels of sensorineural hearing loss (HL) experience variable outcomes in their acquisition of spoken language. We tested whether specific deficits in supra-threshold auditory perception might contribute to this variability. In a previous study (Halliday, Rosen, Tuomainen, & Calcus, 2019, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America), we showed that children with mild-to-moderate HL performed more poorly than normally hearing (NH) controls on measures designed to assess sensitivity to the temporal fine structure (TFS) of sounds (the rapid oscillations in amplitude at the output of the auditory filters). However, they performed within normal limits on measures assessing sensitivity to the envelope (E; the relatively slow fluctuations in amplitude at the auditory filter outputs). Here, we show that individual differences in unaided sensitivity to TFS accounted for 9-16 percent of the variance in receptive vocabulary and phonological processing in children with mild-to-moderate HL, even after controlling for individual differences in nonverbal IQ, family history of language difficulties, and severity of HL. In contrast, sensitivity to E cues better predicted language abilities in NH children. Either TFS or E thresholds (but not both) predicted receptive vocabulary and phonological processing when children with HL were wearing their hearing aids. These findings suggest that sensitivity to TFS cues may play an important role in oral language acquisition for children with mild-to-moderate sensorineural HL. A possible mechanism for this relationship, via speech-in-noise perception, is discussed.

Type: Article
Title: Sensitivity to Temporal Fine Structure Predicts Language Abilities in Children with Hearing Loss
Publisher version: https://psyarxiv.com/qg87a/
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10095768
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