Profiles and predictors of auditory functioning in abacus-trained children

K V Nisha, M Sanjana, V S Rohith, K Rajalakshmi, Prashanth Prabhu
International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology 2021 January 5, 142: 110608

OBJECTIVES: The present study explored the auditory benefits of abacus-training using a battery of tests (auditory acuity, clarity, and cognition). The study also aimed to identify the relative contributions of auditory processing tests that are most sensitive to the effects of abacus-training.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study was conducted on 60 children aged between 9 - 14 years. These participants were divided into two groups (abacus trained and untrained) of 30 each, who underwent a series of auditory functioning tests. The battery of tests included: auditory acuity (frequency, intensity, temporal, binaural and spatial resolution), auditory clarity (speech perception in noise), and auditory cognition (working digit and syllable memory).

RESULTS: Statistically (t-test and Mann Whitney U test), significant changes were observed in the spatial resolution, auditory clarity, and cognition tests, suggestive of positive outcomes of abacus training at the higher-order auditory processing. This finding was complemented by the discriminant function (DF) analyses, which showed that clarity and cognitive measures helped for effective group segregation (abacustrained and untrained). These measures had significantly higher contributions to the DF.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings of the study provide evidence of the multi-component benefits of abacus training in children and the transferability of learning effects to the auditory modality.

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