OBJECTIVES: To investigate associations between auditory processing abilities, cognitive abilities, listening ability, and reading ability in children.
DESIGN: This was a cross-sectional study involving 155 children (105 referred for auditory processing assessment and 50 with no reported listening concerns) aged between 7 and 13 years. Each child was assessed on auditory processing tests, cognitive tests, and a reading test. Additional data on reading ability were provided by the reading score from a national test. Questionnaires about the child's listening ability were completed by a parent, a teacher, and the child.
RESULTS: Structural equation models relating auditory processing abilities, cognitive abilities, listening ability, and reading ability were developed. There was evidence that listening and reading abilities were associated with cognitive abilities when adjusting for auditory processing abilities, but little evidence that listening and reading abilities were associated with auditory processing abilities when adjusting for cognitive abilities.
CONCLUSIONS: It should not be assumed that auditory processing tests and cognitive tests measure separate abilities. When investigating the association between auditory processing abilities and real-world abilities, it is important to adjust for cognitive abilities. Children with listening difficulties should undergo cognitive assessments in addition to auditory processing assessments.