Auditory and Vestibular Research 2017. 26(3):.

A review of the effects of preterm birth on neural development, language acquisition and auditory system
Abdollah Moossavi, Rasool Panahi


Background and Aim: In recent few decades, the total number of preterm newborns with gestational age less than 35 weeks who survived the prematurity conditions has significantly increased. This can lead to a higher prevalence of later neurocognitive and developmental abnormalities. Neurological development, hearing and language acquisition are closely related factors that have a very important role in social and emotional growth. In this review, we tried to put more emphasis on neurodevelopmental, speech-language, and especially hearing consequences of preterm birth.
Recent Findings: Investigating the relationship between preterm birth and neural developmental outcomes shows that prematurity can lead to higher risk of cerebral palsy, developmental delay, and mental retardation when compared with birth at term. Preterm newborns will be deprived of normally enriched hearing experience during hospitalization period, which is markedly different from what is typical for term newborns. This may impede the early normal development of auditory neural pathways and they will face a serious problem in acquisition of speech and language skills compared to their normal peers.
Conclusion: Alterations in auditory and higher cortical functions in preterm children can lead to suboptimal cognition and language skills. In order to prevent and mitigate these consequences, it is proposed that long-term follow-up of neurodevelopment, auditory, and linguistic abilities be implemented for preterm newborns to fully recognize the sources of problems and, if necessary, implement intervention programs.


Preterm birth; auditory system; neural development; speech; language

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