Auditory processing deficits in children with Friedreich ataxia

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Friedreich ataxia is a neurodegenerative disease with an average age of onset of 10 years. The authors sought to investigate the presence and functional consequences of auditory neuropathy in a group of affected children and to evaluate the ability of personal FM-listening systems to improve perception. Nineteen school-aged individuals with Friedreich ataxia and a cohort of matched control subjects underwent a battery of auditory function tests. Sound detection was relatively normal, but auditory temporal processing and speech understanding in noise were severely impaired, with children with Friedreich ataxia typically able to access less than 40% of the information available to controls. Use of FM-listening devices did, however, improve the speech perception performance of those with Friedreich ataxia to the level of their unaffected peers in conditions designed to replicate the listening environment of the average school classroom.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1197-1203
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Child Neurology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • auditory neuropathy
  • auditory processing
  • Friedreich ataxia
  • hearing
  • speech perception

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