Factors associated with rapid auditory processing in 6-month-olds: Risks and potential buffering factors
Horn, Elizabeth Parham
Deficits in the ability to process two or more rapidly presented, successive, auditory stimuli (rapid auditory processing, RAP) are associated with later language acquisition delay and to family history of developmental learning disorders (Choudhury, Leppanen, Leevers, & Benasich, 2007). Maternal depression (Kaplan, Bachorowski & Strouse, 1999) and exposure to ambient noise and household chaos, including television (e.g., Wachs, 1986), have also been associated with poor language acquisition. The present study measured rapid auditory processing in 78 6- to 9-month-old infants living in low-income families. Primary caregivers completed the CES-D depression scale, a family history questionnaire, a household density measure, the IT-Home, and a questionnaire on the patterns of household media use. Infants participated in auditory-visual (AV) habituation and recognition memory tasks to index RAP abilities. A preliminary linear regression analysis simultaneously entering total IT-HOME, family history of language impairment, household density, and child’s minutes of daily media exposure was significant when 70ms novelty preference score was the outcome variable, R2 = 0.21, F(4, 77) = 4.78, p < .01. Regression findings suggest that exposure to background noise early in development from multiple sources, including other people and possibly even television may enhance early perceptual discrimination. Further, replicating the findings of previous studies, infants with a family history of language impairment may be at risk for future language delays. These results have important implications for predicting later language deficits and outcomes.
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