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Predictors of Reading Skills in Children With Listening Concerns

Sharma, Mridula1,2; Cupples, Linda1,2,3; Purdy, Suzanne C.4

doi: 10.1097/AUD.0000000000000608
Research Article

Objectives: Previous research shows that children with reading disorders perform poorly on auditory processing (AP) tasks. Correlational studies have also shown significant associations between some AP tasks and word and nonword reading. There is less clear evidence for AP contributions to spelling and passage reading. The aim of this research was to extend current knowledge by investigating the association between a range of AP measures used clinically and children’s reading of words, nonwords, and passages, as well as word spelling.

Design: Regression analyses were conducted on data from 90 children 7 to 13 years of age (58 males) with reported listening and/or reading concerns. All children had normal hearing sensitivity and were tested on AP tasks including the frequency pattern test (FPT), dichotic digits test, random gap detection test, and the masking level difference. Reading tasks included word, nonword, and passage reading. Phonologic processing, core language skills, nonverbal intelligence, memory, and attention were also measured.

Results: All multiregression analyses were fixed order with age and gender, nonverbal intelligence, core language, phoneme manipulation, and digits backward scores included in the model before AP measures. FPT was the only AP task that accounted for significant unique variance in word/nonword reading and nonword spelling, but not passage reading.

Conclusions: The findings from this study failed to show an association between many clinically used AP measures and children’s reading and spelling outcomes. Nevertheless, they reiterate the importance of evaluating FPT in children with word reading disorders. The findings justify further investigation into the role of this test when diagnosing children with reading or spelling disorders.

1Department of Linguistics, Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

2The HEARing CRC, Audiology, Hearing and Speech Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

3CCD, Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

4Speech Science, School of Psychology, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

Received July 26, 2017; accepted March 28, 2018.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

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Address for correspondence: Mridula Sharma, Audiology Program, Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University, Room 1.609, S2.6, NSW 2109, Australia. E-mail:

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