|Journal||Handb Clin Neurol Volume: 129 Pages: 55-72|
Auditory development involves changes in the peripheral and central nervous system along the auditory pathways, and these occur naturally, and in response to stimulation. Human development occurs along a trajectory that can last decades, and is studied using behavioral psychophysics, as well as physiologic measurements with neural imaging. The auditory system constructs a perceptual space that takes information from objects and groups, segregates sounds, and provides meaning and access to communication tools such as language. Auditory signals are processed in a series of analysis stages, from peripheral to central. Coding of information has been studied for features of sound, including frequency, intensity, loudness, and location, in quiet and in the presence of maskers. In the latter case, the ability of the auditory system to perform an analysis of the scene becomes highly relevant. While some basic abilities are well developed at birth, there is a clear prolonged maturation of auditory development well into the teenage years. Maturation involves auditory pathways. However, non-auditory changes (attention, memory, cognition) play an important role in auditory development. The ability of the auditory system to adapt in response to novel stimuli is a key feature of development throughout the nervous system, known as neural plasticity.
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