The aim of the study was to determine audiological function at 14 years of age of very-low-birthweight (VLBW < or = 1500 g) children compared with a cohort of normal birthweight (NBW > 2499 g) children. Participants were consecutive surviving preterm children of birthweight < 1000 g born between 1977 and 1982 (n=86) and of birthweight 1000 to 1500 g born between 1980 and 1982 (n=124) and randomly selected NBW children born between 1981 and 1982 (n=60). Audiometric tests included pure tone audiometry, tympanometry, stapedius muscle reflexes, and measures of central auditory processing. Psychometric tests included measures of IQ, academic achievement, and behaviour. There were no significant differences in rates of hearing impairment, abnormal tympanograms, figure-ground problems, or digit recall between VLBW children and NBW control children. VLBW children had higher rates of some central auditory processing problems, which in turn were associated with poorer intellectual, academic, and behavioural progress.