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This paper considers evidence for basic auditory processing impairments associated with dyslexia and specific language impairment, against a back-drop of findings from studies of the normal development of auditory and phonological processing. A broad range of auditory impairments have been implicated in the aetiology of these language-learning disorders, including deficits in discriminating the temporal order of rapid sequences of auditory signals, elevated thresholds for frequency discrimination and for detection of amplitude and frequency modulation, impaired binaural processing and increased susceptibility to backward masking. Current evidence is inconsistent, but suggests that not all children with language difficulties have non-verbal auditory processing impairments, and for those that do, the impact on language development is poorly understood. Some implications for clinical practice are discussed.


Journal article


Br Med Bull

Publication Date





135 - 146


Auditory Perception, Dyslexia, Educational Status, Humans, Language Development, Language Development Disorders, Psycholinguistics, Speech Perception