Tags: Autism | autism | diagnosis | hearing | test

Hearing Test May ID Autism Early

Hearing Test May ID Autism Early
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By    |   Wednesday, 27 July 2016 09:16 AM

Children with autism often have an inner ear deficiency that may hinder their ability to recognize speech — a discovery that could one day be used to identify those at risk for the disorder at an early age.

The findings, which were published in the journal Autism Research, are based on a study of hearing ability in a group of children, aged 6 and 17 years, half of whom have been diagnosed with autism.

The researchers found that the children with autism had hearing difficultly in a specific frequency that is important for processing speech. They also found a correlation between the degree of cochlear impairment and the severity of their symptoms.

"This study identifies a simple, safe, and non-invasive method to screen young children for hearing deficits that are associated with Autism," said researcher Dr. Anne Luebke, Ph.D., an associate professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience.

"This technique may provide clinicians a new window into the disorder and enable us to intervene earlier and help achieve optimal outcomes."

While many signs of autism are present before age two, most children are not diagnosed until after age four, which means that corrective therapies are started later, delaying their potential impact.

Because the hearing test is non-invasive, inexpensive, and does not require a verbal response, this technique could be used to screen infants, an approach that the team is currently exploring.

"Auditory impairment has long been associated with developmental delay and other problems, such as language deficits," said Dr. Loisa Bennetto, Ph.D., an associate professor in the University of Rochester. "While there is no association between hearing problems and autism, difficulty in processing speech may contribute to some of the core symptoms of the disease.

"Early detection could help identify risk for ASD and enable clinicians to intervene earlier. Additionally, these findings can inform the development of approaches to correct auditory impairment with hearing aids or other devices that can improve the range of sounds the ear can process."

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Children with autism often have an inner ear problem that may hinder their ability to recognize speech - a discovery that could one day be used to identify infants at risk for the disorder.
autism, diagnosis, hearing, test
335
2016-16-27
Wednesday, 27 July 2016 09:16 AM
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