Friday, November 9, 2012

Assistive listening devices may improve dyslexic student reading skills

Children with dyslexia may benefit from wearing assistive listening devices in the classroom, a study suggests. Nina Kraus and colleagues studied 34 dyslexic children who ranged in age from 8 to 14 years. Nineteen of the students wore an assistive listening device, similar to a Bluetooth receiver, throughout the school day for the duration of the school year. The brain responded to sound more consistently in children wearing the devices, the authors report, a finding that could have implications for improved reading skills.

According to the authors, the devices could help improve focus and awareness in children with dyslexia while reducing background noise. The benefits could extend beyond the classroom, the authors propose, by addressing the abnormal sensory representations of speech in children with dyslexia, who have a tendency to misperceive the meanings of similar sounds such as "cat" as "bat" or "pat." Use of assistive listening devices could potentially transform how the nervous system processes sound and help normalize speech comprehension, even in children with pervasive reading impairments, according to the authors.

"Assistive listening devices drive neuroplasticity in children with dyslexia," by Jane Hornickel, Steven G. Zecker, Ann R. Bradlow, and Nina Kraus

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