Review Article

The effects of preterm birth on neural development, language acquisition, and auditory system


Background and Aim: In the last few decades, the total number of preterm newborns, with gestational age less than 35 weeks, who survived the prematurity conditions, has increased significantly. This might lead to a high prevalence of late neurocognitive and developmental abnormalities. The neurological development is closely related to the hearing and language acquisition; these factors play a crucial role in social and emotional growth. The present review emphasizes the consequences of preterm birth on neurodevelopment, speech-language, and auditory system.
Recent Findings: The relationship between the preterm birth and neural developmental indicates that prematurity could lead to a higher risk of cerebral palsy, developmental delay, and mental retardation as compared to the birth at term. The preterm newborns would be deprived of normally enriched hearing experience during the length of hospital stay, which is markedly different from that of the typical full-term newborns. This altered hearing ability might impede the early normal development of auditory neural pathways in preterm children, posing serious concerns about the acquisition of speech and language skills as 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, a long-term follow-up of neurodevelopment, auditory, and linguistic abilities is proposed to fully recognize the sources of problems, and if necessary, implement the intervention programs. 

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IssueVol 26 No 3 (2017) QRcode
SectionReview Article(s)
Preterm birth auditory system neural development speech language

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Moossavi A, Panahi R. The effects of preterm birth on neural development, language acquisition, and auditory system. Aud Vestib Res. 2017;26(3):117-124.