Auditory processing deficits are common in people with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and they often report difficulties in musical performance.
We investigated whether NF1 could be associated with amusia as well as with some impairment of primary auditory cortex activity.
Eighteen people with NF1 and 22 healthy volunteers, matched for age, sex and educational level, were evaluated with the Montreal Battery Evaluation of Amusia – short version. The integrity of cortical primary auditory processing areas was evaluated by evoked potential mismatch negativity.
Amusia was correlated with NF1 (p = 0.001, odds ratio = 42.0, confidence interval 4.5–39.6). Patients with NF1 exhibited a greater prevalence of amusia than healthy controls (67% vs. 4.5%) and difficulties in both melodic and temporal music perception. Worse performance on the Montreal Battery Evaluation of Amusia was correlated with a greater mismatch negativity latency in NF1 group.
Amusia is a common feature in NF1 and may result from impairment of activity in primary auditory processing areas.
neurofibromatosis 1; music; evoked potentials; auditory perceptual disorders; pitch discrimination