Author(s): Rocheron I, Lorenzi C, Fllgrabe C, Dumont A
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Abstract Speech intelligibility depends heavily on the accurate perception of auditory temporal envelope cues, that is the slower amplitude modulations present in the speech waveform. In a previous study, McAnally and Stein demonstrated that dyslexics may show impaired audibility (i.e. detectability) of these envelope cues. In the present psychophysical study, the ability to process temporal envelope cues was further investigated in dyslexic children by measuring detection thresholds of sinusoidal amplitude-modulation (SAM) and discrimination thresholds of SAM depth and SAM rate. Each threshold was measured at slow and fast SAM rates of 4 and 128 Hz, respectively. Overall, SAM thresholds were higher in dyslexics than in controls at both rates. The strongest deficit was observed at 4 Hz in the SAM detection task, but a deficit was also apparent at 128 Hz in the SAM discrimination tasks. Therefore, these results reveal that, in addition to reduced audibility of slow and fast envelope cues, some dyslexic children show poor encoding fidelity for these cues (as measured by the discrimination tasks). Overall, these findings are consistent with Tallal's hypothesis according to which the speech and reading deficits in some dyslexics may be caused by impaired temporal processes.
This article was published in Neuroreport
and referenced in Otolaryngology: Open Access