Background: Traditional behavioral auditory processing evaluation relies on the cooperation and good attention of the child who is being evaluated. Beyond that fact, behavioral auditory processing evaluations have poor sensitivity and specificity in differentially diagnosing auditory processing deficits from other disorders e.g., global sensory processing, sensory integration, learning disability, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. Using electrophysiological assessments can improve differential diagnosis. Previous studies have shown this to be true, but the measures are often difficult to use clinically.
Research Question: The main purpose of the study is to compare behavioral findings of a traditional auditory processing evaluation with novel and traditional physiological measures of afferent and efferent function of the auditory system.
Method: The proposed study will use a cross-sectional experimental design to examine the auditory pathway function of children with and without auditory processing disorders (APD), including children diagnosed with sensory integration disorder and/or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Participants in each group with be evaluated using traditional behavioral evaluations and the traditional and experimental electrophysiological assessments. Screenings for sensory integration disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder will be utilized for differential diagnosis.
Data analyses: The proposed study is a mixed (within- and between-subjects) design, allowing for comparisons on behavioral and physiological measures. Parametric evaluation of the results will be used to analyze the data.
Significance: If the novel electrophysiological evaluations are shown to have sensitivity and specificity for differentially diagnosing auditory processing disorders, then clinical assessments procedures will be altered, and potentially improve differential diagnosis and recommended treatment.