Heritability of non-speech auditory processing skills

Brewer, Carmen C. and Zalewski, Christopher K. and King, Kelly A. and Zobay, Oliver and Riley, Alison and Ferguson, Melanie A. and Bird, Jonathan E. and McCabe, Margaret M. and Hood, Linda J. and Drayna, Dennis and Griffith, Andrew J. and Morell, Robert J. and Friedman, Thomas B. and Moore, David R. (2016) Heritability of non-speech auditory processing skills. European Journal of Human Genetics, 24 (8). pp. 1137-1144. ISSN 1476-5438

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Abstract

Recent insight into the genetic bases for autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, stuttering, and language disorders suggest that neurogenetic approaches may also reveal at least one etiology of auditory processing disorder (APD). A person with an APD typically has difficulty understanding speech in background noise despite having normal pure-tone hearing sensitivity. The estimated prevalence of APD may be as high as 10% in the pediatric population, yet the causes are unknown and have not been explored by molecular or genetic approaches. The aim of our study was to determine the heritability of frequency and temporal resolution for auditory signals and speech recognition in noise in 96 identical or fraternal twin pairs, aged 6–11 years. Measures of auditory processing (AP) of non-speech sounds included backward masking (temporal resolution), notched noise masking (spectral resolution), pure-tone frequency discrimination (temporal fine structure sensitivity), and nonsense syllable recognition in noise. We provide evidence of significant heritability, ranging from 0.32 to 0.74, for individual measures of these non-speech-based AP skills that are crucial for understanding spoken language. Identification of specific heritable AP traits such as these serve as a basis to pursue the genetic underpinnings of APD by identifying genetic variants associated with common AP disorders in children and adults.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Auditory processing; Heritability; Twin study; Frequency discrimination; Backward masking
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
Identification Number: 10.1038/ejhg.2015.277
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2016 14:55
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 09:21
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/39118

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