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Spatial Listening Skills in Normal-Hearing Children (Lovett et al., 2012)

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journal contribution
posted on 18.12.2021, 00:29 by Rosemary Elizabeth Susan Lovett, Pádraig Thomas Kitterick, Shan Huang, Arthur Quentin Summerfield
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 speech 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.

Funding

The first author received a studentship from Deafness Research UK (419:YOR:QS) and is currently supported by an International Research Grant from Action on Hearing Loss (G48 Vickers).

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