Human Genetics

, Volume 122, Issue 1, pp 103–111

A twin study of auditory processing indicates that dichotic listening ability is a strongly heritable trait

Authors

    • Laboratory of Molecular GeneticsNational Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health
  • Carmen C. Brewer
    • Otolaryngology BranchNational Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
  • Dongliang Ge
    • Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of GeorgiaGeorgia Prevention Institute
    • Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, Center for Population Genomics and Pharmacogenetics
  • Harold Snieder
    • Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of GeorgiaGeorgia Prevention Institute
    • Department of Epidemiology, University Medical Center GroningenUniversity of Groningen
  • Christopher K. Zalewski
    • Otolaryngology BranchNational Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
  • Kelly A. King
    • Otolaryngology BranchNational Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
    • Hearing and Speech Sciences DepartmentUniversity of Maryland
  • Dennis Drayna
    • Laboratory of Molecular GeneticsNational Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health
  • Thomas B. Friedman
    • Laboratory of Molecular GeneticsNational Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health
Original Investigation

DOI: 10.1007/s00439-007-0384-5

Cite this article as:
Morell, R.J., Brewer, C.C., Ge, D. et al. Hum Genet (2007) 122: 103. doi:10.1007/s00439-007-0384-5

Abstract

We administered tests commonly used in the diagnosis of auditory processing disorders (APDs) to twins recruited from the general population. We observed significant correlations in test scores between co-twins. Our analyses of test score correlations among 106 MZ and 33 DZ twin pairs indicate that dichotic listening ability is a highly heritable trait. Dichotic listening is the ability to identify and distinguish different stimuli presented simultaneously to each ear. Deficits in dichotic listening skills indicate a lesion or defect in interhemispheric information processing. Such defects or lesions can be prominent in elderly listeners, language-impaired children, stroke victims, and individuals with PAX6 mutations. Our data indicates that other auditory processing abilities are influenced by shared environment. These findings should help illuminate the etiology of APDs, and help to clarify the relationships between auditory processing abilities and learning/language disorders associated with APDs.

Supplementary material

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007