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The developmental trajectory of spatial listening skills in normal-hearing children

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JournalJournal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research
DatePublished - 1 Jun 2012
Issue number3
Volume55
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)865-78
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

PURPOSE:
To establish the age at which children can complete tests of spatial listening and to measure the normative relationship between age and performance.
METHOD:
Fifty-six normal-hearing children, ages 1.5-7.9 years, attempted tests of the ability to discriminate a sound source on the left from one on the right, to localize a source, to track moving sources, and to perceive speech in noise.
RESULTS:
Tests of left-right discrimination, movement tracking, and speech perception were completed by ≥ 75% of children older than 3 years. Children showed adult levels of performance from age 1.5 years (movement tracking), 3 years (left-right discrimination), and 6 years (localization and speech in noise). Spatial release from masking-calculated as the difference in speech reception thresholds between conditions with spatially coincident and spatially separate sp-eech and noise--remained constant at 5 dB from age 3 years. Data from a separate study demonstrate the age at which children with cochlear implants can complete the same tests. Assessments of left-right discrimination, movement tracking, and speech perception were completed by ≥ 75% of children who are older than 5 years and who wear cochlear implants.
CONCLUSION:
These data can guide the selection of tests for future studies and inform the interpretation of results from clinical populations.

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