Auditory Pathologies in Infancy

  • George T. Mencher
  • Lenore S. Mencher
Part of the Advances in the Study of Communication and Affect book series (ASCA, volume 10)


Auditory pathologies are generally grouped into two categories, hearing loss and central auditory dysfunction. Tennyson was certainly correct, however, in pointing out that the only language of the infant is the cry. Therefore, central auditory deficits involving auditory discrimination (ability to differentiate contrasting vowels and consonants), auditory association (ability to relate meaning to sound), auditory closure (ability to fill in missing sounds), auditory memory (ability to recall an auditory sequence), auditory localization (spatial orientation), and auditory figure—ground perception (the ability to isolate related sounds from their background) do not really appear as problems until the infant has become the toddler and language, mobility, personality, and potty training become the bane of mother’s existence. Therefore, the focus of this chapter is on pathologies resulting in hearing loss. That is not to say that central auditory dysfunction does not occur, or is any less important a topic for discussion. It does say, however, that our diagnostic procedures (binaural fusion, filtered speech, alternating speech, and competing messages) require a far more sophisticated approach than can be utilized with the infant. Perhaps even more important, although it is nice to know the locus of a lesion, that knowledge will have little effect on the treatment the child and the family would receive during those early months of life, regardless of the type of auditory pathology present.


Hearing Loss Cerebral Palsy Sensorineural Hearing Loss Cochlear Nucleus Perinatal Asphyxia 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • George T. Mencher
    • 1
  • Lenore S. Mencher
    • 2
  1. 1.Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech ClinicDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech ClinicCo-ordinator Hearing Screening ProgramHalifaxCanada

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