With hearing aids against dyslexia

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Hearing aids help children with poor reading and spelling skills

Children with poor reading and spelling skills can benefit significantly from hearing aids, according to a study by the research team led by Jane Hornickel from the Institute for Communication Science and Disorders at Northwestern University in Evanston (Illinois, USA). The hearing aid has remedied the cause of dyslexia - namely the imprecise perception of certain sounds - the scientists report in the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencces" (PNAS).

It has long been known that children with poor reading and spelling skills “often show increased variability in the sensory and cognitive aspects of hearing compared to their peers,” write Hornickel and colleagues. These fluctuations in auditory processing are expressed, for example, in difficulties in distinguishing certain sounds. Since the children cannot clearly differentiate the sounds, it is also much more difficult for them to connect them with certain letters. The US researchers therefore came up with the idea of ​​improving the acoustic perception of the affected children with the aid of hearing aids in order to remedy their weakness in reading and spelling.

Fluctuations in auditory processing cause of dyslexia? The variability in auditory processing means that dyslexics find it difficult to distinguish consonants or words that sound similar. In addition, children with reading and spelling weaknesses are increasingly impaired in their acoustic perception by noise, such as noise in the classroom. The researchers therefore tested the use of a hearing aid specially designed for class lessons, which specifically amplifies the voice of the teacher equipped with a microphone and thus makes it more noticeable. "We wanted to know whether hearing aids specially designed for school lessons can help dyslexic children," explained the US researchers The 38 study participants were between the ages of eight and 14. Before the start of the trial, the researchers measured the children's reading ability and activity in the listening center of the test subjects' brains, which, as expected, showed an increased “variability of the subcortical Answers “especially when processing consonants, but their basic hearing was completely normal, report the US scientists in the journal“ PNAS ”.

Hearing aids alleviate weakness in reading and spelling
By wearing the hearing aid, the pupils could hear the teachers loud and clear despite distracting noises, which had a positive effect on their reading and spelling weakness, "write Hornickel and colleagues. The fluctuations in auditory processing have also decreased, the US said The researchers say that after wearing the hearing aid, the hearing center “reacted much more consistently and precisely than a year earlier.” According to the researchers, the control group - also students from private schools for dyslexics - showed no signs of a comparable development. The team led by Jane Hornickel concludes that "hearing aids improve the neuronal representation of language and the effects on reading skills through increased acoustic clarity and attention, as well as the reduction in fluctuations in auditory processing." A positive side effect is also that the children overall clearly could better follow the class and learn. (fp)

Read on:
Dyslexia: Early test can detect poor reading
Reading difficulties in children can be seen early

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