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The main stages in the development of auditory function in a child

The human auditory analyzer begins to function from the moment of its birth. Under the influence of sounds of sufficient volume in newborns, one can observe responses that proceed as unconditioned reflexes and manifest themselves in the form of changes in breathing and pulse, delayed sucking movements, etc. At the end of the first and beginning of the second month of life, the child already develops conditioned reflexes to sound stimuli. By repeatedly reinforcing any sound signal (for example, the sound of a bell) by feeding, one can develop a conditional reaction in such a child in the form of the occurrence of sucking movements in response to sound irritation. Very early (in the third month), the child already begins to distinguish sounds by their quality (by timbre, by height). According to recent studies, the primary distinction of sounds that differ sharply from each other in character (for example, noise and knocking - from musical tones, as well as the distinction of tones within adjacent octaves) can be observed even in newborns. According to the same data, the possibility of determining the direction of sound is also noted in newborns.

In the subsequent period, the ability to differentiate sounds is further developed and extends to the voice and elements of speech. The child begins to react differently to different intonations and different words, however, the latter are not perceived at the beginning to be sufficiently dissected. During the second and third years of life, in connection with the formation of speech in the child, there is a further development of his auditory function, characterized by a gradual refinement of the perception of the sound composition of speech.
At the end of the first year, the child usually distinguishes words and phrases mainly by their rhythmic contour and intonation coloring, and by the end of the second and the beginning of the third year he already has the ability to distinguish by ear all the sounds of speech. Moreover, the development of differentiated auditory perception of speech sounds occurs in close interaction with the development of the pronunciation side of speech. This interaction is bilateral in nature. On the one hand, the differentiation of pronunciation depends on the state of auditory function, and on the other hand, the ability to pronounce one or another sound of speech makes it easier for a child to distinguish him by ear. However, it should be noted that, in norm, the development of auditory differentiation precedes the refinement of pronunciation skills. This circumstance is reflected in the fact that children of 2-3 years, completely distinguishing by ear the sound structure of words, cannot reproduce it even reflectedly. If you suggest such a child to repeat, for example, the word pencil, he will reproduce it as “Kalandas,” but if an adult says instead of a pencil “Kalandas,” the child will immediately determine the falsity in the pronunciation of the adult.

We can assume that the formation of the so-called verbal hearing, i.e., the ability to distinguish by auditory sound composition of speech, ends by the beginning of the third year of life. However, the improvement of other aspects of the auditory function (musical hearing, the ability to distinguish all kinds of noises associated with the operation of certain mechanisms, etc.) can occur not only in children but also in adults in connection with special activities.
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The main stages in the development of auditory function in a child

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