Dichotic listening deficits in children with dyslexia


Several auditory processing deficits have been reported in children with dyslexia. In order to assess for the presence of a binaural integration type of auditory processing deficit, dichotic listening tests with digits, words and consonant-vowel (CV) pairs were administered to two groups of right-handed 11-year-old children, one group diagnosed with developmental dyslexia and an age-matched control group. Dyslexic children performed more poorly than controls from their left ears when listening to digits and words and from their right ears when listening to CVs. Direction of ear advantage varied across individuals in both groups when tested with digits and CVs, but ear advantage was stable with words. Several factors that may have contributed to inconsistencies in direction of ear advantage are discussed. When the children were tested in a directed response mode, degree of ear advantage differed significantly between groups with both words and digits. More dyslexic than control children demonstrated clinically significant reductions in dichotic listening performance, but no uniform pattern of deficit emerged. Only the double correct score and the left ear score with CV pairs were predictive of word recognition performance in dyslexic children. Binaural integration deficits are present in some children with dyslexia. Auditory processing disorder assessment may help delineate factors that underlie or are associated with reading impairment in this population. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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