The Effects of Singing Lessons on Speech Evoked Brainstem Responses in Children with Central Auditory Processing Disorders
Keywords:Central auditory processing disorders, Sub-cortical Auditory Evoked Potentials, Speech-ABR, experience-dependent plasticity, processing, sensory enrichment
This study investigated the effects of formal singing lessons on subcortical auditory responses in children with central auditory processing disorders (CAPD). Eleven school aged children (7-11 years old) participated in the study. Auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) were recorded using click and speech stimuli (/da/) before and after 6 months of singing lessons. The lessons included curriculum specifically designed to address deficits in pitch and timing perception as seen in children with CAPD. Results revealed delayed latencies in CAPD children before and after singing lessons compared to the normative data developed for children with normal auditory function. However, no significant latency differences were observed after the six to eight months of singing lessons. Significantly larger amplitudes were observed for Wave A and the VA slope after musical training. A trend for larger amplitude was also observed for Wave O. Enriched auditory experiences have a profound influence on how sound is processed in the brain. The data of the present study suggest that efficacy of formal singing lessons can be demonstrated by speech-ABR in children with CAPD. The magnitude of the onset and off-set of the speech-ABR response improved after the six to eight months of formal auditory (music) training. Subcortical response amplitude could be more sensitive than latencies to demonstrate the positive effect of singing lessons. However, this duration would be insufficient to reveal an improvement for the neural timing (latency).
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