Cochlear delay and medial olivocochlear functioning in children with suspected auditory processing disorder
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Behavioral manifestations of processing deficits associated with auditory processing disorder (APD) have been well documented. However, little is known about their anatomical underpinnings, especially cochlear processing. Cochlear delays, a proxy for cochlear tuning, measured using stimulus frequency otoacoustic emission (SFOAE) group delay, and the influence of the medial olivocochlear (MOC) system activation at the auditory periphery was studied in 23 children suspected with APD (sAPD) and 22 typically developing (TD) children. Results suggest that children suspected with APD have longer SFOAE group delays (possibly due to sharper cochlear tuning) and reduced MOC function compared to TD children. Other differences between the groups include correlation between MOC function and SFOAE delay in quiet in the TD group, and lack thereof in the sAPD group. MOCmediated changes in SFOAE delay were in opposite directions between groups: increase in delay in TD vs. reduction in delay in the sAPD group. Longer SFOAE group delays in the sAPD group may lead to longer cochlear filter ringing, and potential increase in forward masking. These results indicate differences in cochlear and MOC function between sAPD and TD groups. Further studies are warranted to explore the possibility of cochlea as a potential site for processing deficits in APD.