Assistive and Therapeutic Effects of Amplification for Auditory Processing Disorder

Studies of the effects of amplification with remote microphone hearing aid systems for children with auditory processing disorder or dyslexia consistently show therapeutic as well as assistive benefits from the amplification.

Keith, W. J., & Purdy, S. C. (2014, February). Assistive and therapeutic effects of amplification for auditory processing disorder. In Seminars in Hearing (Vol. 35, No. 01, pp. 027-038). Thieme Medical Publishers.

Studies of the effects of amplification with remote microphone hearing aids for children with auditory processing disorder or dyslexia consistently show therapeutic as well as assistive benefits from the amplification. The immediate assistive benefits include improved attention, learning, behavior and participation in class, and improved self-esteem and psychosocial development. The long-term therapeutic benefits include improvements in cortical auditory evoked potential amplitudes to tone stimuli, auditory brainstem responses to speech stimuli, frequency discrimination, binaural temporal resolution, frequency pattern recognition, auditory working memory, core language, phonological awareness, and speech perception in spatially separated noise. Amplification appears to treat a wide range of auditory skills simultaneously, facilitating neuroplastic change while also providing access to the auditory world. Expert intervention to engage the support of teachers is a critical element in achieving successful outcomes. Children treated with remote microphone hearing aids may not require long-term amplification.

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Benefits of prosody perception training and use of remote microphone hearing aid systems for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The PhD thesis research of Dr Joan Leung, Adviser: ASD at SoundSkills APD Clinic, showed that children with ASD can improve their communication skills through training to better appreciate prosody, the subtle changes in speech intonation and stress that denote emotion. Use of remote microphone hearing aid systems assisted the prosody perception training and were beneficial to the children in school.

Assessing and training affective prosody perception and production in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Behavioural and neurophysiological Exploration into the Use of Computer-Based Activities and Remote Microphone Hearing Aids for Auditory Processing

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Children with suspected auditory processing disorder show reduced amplitude acoustic reflex growth functions

Measurement of acoustic reflexes is an objective (physiological) test as distinct from behavioural tests used for diagnosing APD. Reduced amplitude acoustic reflex functions in children suspected of having APD provide objective evidence of atypical function in the central auditory nervous system in these children.

Saxena, U., Allan, C., & Allen, P. (2015). Crossed and uncrossed acoustic reflex growth functions in normal-hearing adults, typically developing children, and children with suspected auditory processing disorder. International journal of audiology, 54(9), 620-626.

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Research evidence of the benefit of a software training programme in game format to improve the hearing in noise ability of children with spatial processing disorder, a type of APD

Colleagues at the National Acoustic Laboratories in Australia developed this evidence-based training game to improve ability to hear in noise. The game aspect of the software has since been revised to make it more appealing and it is now marketed as ‘Sound Storm’.

Cameron, S., & Dillon, H. (2011). Development and evaluation of the LiSN & learn auditory training software for deficit-specific remediation of binaural processing deficits in children: preliminary findings. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 22(10), 678-696.

The LiSN & Learn auditory training software was developed to improve binaural processing skills in children with suspected central auditory processing disorder who were diagnosed as having a spatial processing disorder (SPD). SPD is a condition whereby individuals are deficient in their ability to use binaural cues to selectively attend to sounds arriving from one direction while simultaneously suppressing sounds arriving from another. As a result, children with SPD have difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments, such as in the classroom.

LiSN & Learn produces a three-dimensional auditory environment under headphones on the user’s home computer. The child’s task is to identify a word from a target sentence presented in background noise. A weighted up-down adaptive procedure is used to adjust the signal level of the target based on the participant’s response.

Participants trained on the LiSN & Learn for 15 min per day for 12 weeks.

On average, speech reception thresholds on the LiSN & Learn improved by 10 dB over the course of training. Significant improvements were found post-training on measures of memory, on one measure of attention, and on self-reported ratings of listening ability. Children as young as 6 years of age of age were able to complete the training. Both parents and children reported benefits from the training.

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