Computer-based auditory training (CBAT): benefits for children with language- and reading-related learning difficulties


Jenny Loo at The Ear Institute, University College London, 332 Gray’s Inn Road, WC1X 8EE, UK. E-mail:


This article reviews the evidence for computer-based auditory training (CBAT) in children with language, reading, and related learning difficulties, and evaluates the extent it can benefit children with auditory processing disorder (APD). Searches were confined to studies published between 2000 and 2008, and they are rated according to the level of evidence hierarchy proposed by the American Speech–Language Hearing Association (ASHA) in 2004. We identified 16 studies of two commercially available CBAT programs (13 studies of Fast ForWord® (FFW) and three studies of Earobics) and five further outcome studies of other non-speech and simple speech sounds training, available for children with language, learning, and reading difficulties. The results suggest that, apart from the phonological awareness skills, the FFW and Earobics programs seem to have little effect on the language, spelling, and reading skills of children. Non-speech and simple speech sounds training may be effective in improving children’s reading skills, but only if it is delivered by an audio-visual method. There is some initial evidence to suggest that CBAT may be of benefit for children with APD. Further research is necessary, however, to substantiate these preliminary findings.