In the animal kingdom, differences in sound communication based on sex are widely spread. Male songbirds sing in order to appeal to female songbirds. The females will then select their mate by using their favorite song. Male humpback whales also sing in order to attract potential mates. Differences in hearing between the each sex have been widely studied. Up until recently, there was little information that was known about how those differences developed.
A Study Conducted on Sex Differences of Auditory Function
A laboratory, known as Brainvolts, studied biological sex differences of the auditory function in 600 preschoolers, adolescents, and adults. The researchers determined that there were biological distinctions in specific elements of auditory processing that appear between pre-school and college.
Frequency-following responses (FFRs) were measured in order to examine numerous facets of sound processing in a speech syllable. It was shown that males and females differed in timing of their responses to sound onsets. Other features of biological function are only different between older males and females. The sex differences in response timing to the transitions between phonemes, general response size, and responses to speech harmonics develop during adolescence. Therefore, the responses of preschool males and females are similar, but adolescents’ responses are not. This implies that these differences are caused by hormone changes linked to puberty. Pre-school and adolescent males and females produce similar responses to the basic frequency of speech that communicates pitch, while adults differ in their responses.
This study demonstrates how one individual brain response uncovers several aspects of biological sound processing. A study on sex differences gives us a closer look at the basic aspects of sound processing and indicates that they do not overlap.
The research also shows that sex differences are not established at birth. Some of the sex differences, like onset processing, are likely based on differences in cochlear anatomy. Others that develop are likely guided by other unknown influences, such as age-related modifications in hormone expression and experience in the central nervous system.
These revelations have vital significance. They may allow us to better understand why men are more prone to have language disorders than women. Elements of sound processing that are necessary during language development - changes in timing and speech harmonics - occur in the brain as it develops. These innate sex and development distinctions could cause a biological responsibility for language.
Due to the fact that there are developmental differences in males and females, this emphasizes the way test results are understood based on sex and age. Dissimilarities in auditory processing imply that males and females could respond differently to interventions. Sex is an important component to consider when determining the best treatment.
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