Acta Med. 2022, 65: 1-7

The Development and Neurophysiological Assessment of Newborn Auditory Cognition: A Review of Findings and Their Application

Josef Urbaneca,b, Jan Kremláčeka,c, Kateřina Chládkovád,e, Sylva Skálováf

aDepartment of Pathological Physiology, Medical Faculty in Hradec Králové, Charles University, Czech Republic
bPaediatrics Department, Havlíčkův Brod Hospital, Czech Republic
cDepartment of Medical Biophysics, Medical Faculty in Hradec Králové, Charles University, Czech Republic
dInstitute of Czech Language and Theory of Communication, Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
eInstitute of Psychology, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic
fPaediatrics Department of University Hospital in Hradec Králové, Charles University, Czech Republic

Received February 9, 2021
Accepted January 14, 2022

This review article introduces the basic principles of infants’ neurophysiology, while summarizing the core knowledge of the anatomical structure of the auditory pathway, and presents previous findings on newborns’ neural speech processing and suggests their possible applications for clinical practice. In order to tap into the functioning of the auditory pathway in newborns, recent approaches have employed electrophysiological techniques that measure electrical activity of the brain. The neural processing of an incoming auditory stimulus is objectively reflected by means of auditory event-related potentials. The newborn’s nervous system processes the incoming sound, and the associated electrical activity of the brain is measured and extracted as components characterized by amplitude, latency, and polarity. Based on the parameters of event-related potentials, it is possible to assess the maturity of a child’s brain, or to identify a pathology that needs to be treated or mitigated. For instance, in children with a cochlear implant, auditory event-related potentials are employed to evaluate an outcome of the implantation procedure and to monitor the development of hearing. Event-related potentials turn out to be an irreplaceable part of neurodevelopmental care for high-risk children e.g., preterm babies, children with learning disabilities, autism and many other risk factors.


Supported by the projects of Charles University PRIMUS/ 17/HUM/19 a PROGRES Q40/07.


22 live references