Friday, September 02, 2005

What?? Memory Problems Caused by Auditory Processing Difficulties

A recent report from Brandeis has suggests that mild to moderate hearing difficulties in older adults can tax the brain's resources so much that it impairs memory difficulties and cognition. For our experience, this happens in kids too. Hearing disorders are something that are often undiagnosed, and if you add central (brain-based) auditory processing disorders, the numbers are even greater.

If you're young and don't seem to have very good auditory attention (what, huh?), you could be written off as having ADD. If you're older and tend to say what, huh? then people might think you're 'slow'.

Well, as it turns out, you might be perfectly fine with reading - so it's not a general attention deficit disorder or age-related memory impairment, but few people are available to help you fgure that out.

In the classroom and in formal school evaluations, we would like to see more professionals thinking about comparing reading to hearing when problems with attention, memory, or comprehension arise. Standard accommodations might include Teachers' Notes (if available), textbook at home, close captioning of movies, and assignments, instructions, requirements always provided in writing.

15% of school children have measureable hearing loss in one or both ears, and fully one-third of children diagnosed with only 'minimal' hearing loss will fail at least one grade.

The Figure below shows the different patterns of brain activation when reading a sentence (warm colors) vs. hearing a sentence (cool colors).

Press Release: Poor hearing may cause poor memory
Hearing vs. Seeing Sentences
Verbal working memory and sentence comprehension

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