Reduced sensitivity to slow-rate dynamic auditory information in children with dyslexia
The etiology of developmental dyslexia remains widely debated. An appealing theory postulates that the reading and spelling problems in individuals with dyslexia originate from reduced sensitivity to slow-rate dynamic auditory cues. This low-level auditory deficit is thought to provoke a cascade of effects, including inaccurate speech perception and eventually unspecified phoneme representations. The present study investigated sensitivity to frequency modulation and amplitude rise time, speech-in-noise perception and phonological awareness in 11-year-old children with dyslexia and a matched normal-reading control children. Group comparisons demonstrated that children with dyslexia were less sensitive than normal-reading children to slow-rate dynamic auditory processing, speech-in-noise perception, phonological awareness and literacy abilities. Correlations were found between slow-rate dynamic auditory processing and phonological awareness, and speech-in-noise perception and reading. Yet, no significant correlation between slow-rate dynamic auditory processing and speech-in-noise perception was obtained. Together, these results indicate that children with dyslexia have difficulties with slow-rate dynamic auditory processing and speech-in-noise perception and that these problems persist until sixth grade.