Abstract and Keywords
Language and learning disorders are defined as any delay or deviance in an individual's normal language and cognitive development, which cannot be explained by a lack of opportunity to learn, having the potential of negative impact upon the educational and psychosocial outcomes of that individual. This article takes a developmental perspective, exploring the contribution of auditory function to cognitive and linguistic maturation, and focusing on how impaired hearing and listening can lead to disorders of language and learning. It concerns the effects of hearing disorders, some of which may be quite subtle, on language and cognitive development. It presents a balanced view of the evidence, and argues for an approach based on ‘risk factors’ rather than simplistic causal links. Finally, it throws light on the fact that the links between auditory function and development of higher-level abilities are still poorly understood, and present a considerable challenge to researchers.
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