Aim: To study whether auditory function measured with brainstem auditory evoked potential and brainstem audiometry recordings in the neonatal period associates with language development 1 year later in preterm infants.Methods: This retrospective study included 155 preterm infants (birthweight ≤1500 g and/or birth ≤32 gestational weeks) born between 2007 and 2012 at the Turku University Hospital. Auditory function was recorded in neonatal period. Information of language development was gathered at the mean corrected age of 1 year by using the Finnish version of the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory.Results: Slower auditory processing (longer interpeak interval, IPI I-V) in the right ear in the neonatal brainstem auditory evoked potential recording associated with smaller receptive lexicon size at 1 year (P = .043). Infants with longer IPI I-V were more likely to have a deviant (≤17 words) receptive lexicon size (P = .033). The ab-sence of a contralateral response with right ear stimulation increased the risk for deviant lexicon size (P = .049).Conclusion: The results suggest that impaired auditory function in the neonatal pe-riod in preterm infants may lead to a poorer receptive language outcome 1 year later. Auditory pathway function assessment provides information for the identification of preterm children at risk for weak language development.
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