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Eur J Hum Genet. 2016 Aug;24(8):1137-44. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2015.277. Epub 2016 Feb 17.

Heritability of non-speech auditory processing skills.

Author information

1
Otolaryngology Branch, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
2
Medical Research Council, Institute of Hearing Research, Nottingham, UK.
3
National Institute of Health Research, Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit, Nottingham, UK.
4
Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
5
Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA.
6
Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA.
7
Laboratory of Communication Disorders, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
8
Genomics and Computational Biology Core, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
9
Communication Sciences Research Center, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Cincinnati, OH, USA.

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.

PMID:
26883091
PMCID:
PMC4872837
DOI:
10.1038/ejhg.2015.277
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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