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Researchers Identify a Link Between a Hearing Test and Autism

Monday, September 12, 2016 8:44:30 PM Australia/Melbourne

Researchers Identify a Link Between a Hearing Test and AutismThe Hearlink team has the utmost respect for the increasing body of research around hearing loss. Obviously the research is helpful for a myriad of reasons, but these are becoming more and more cross functional. Testing for hearing loss is beginning to bring to light other health issues and ways to combat them.


One such relationship was recently found when scientists found a deficiency within the inner in ear in children on the autism spectrum. This deficiency may impact their ability to recognize noises and words. This is a huge win for the world of research, as it could be used to help determine if children are at risk at the disorder, at a younger and younger age.


“This technique may provide clinicians a new window into the disorder and enable us to intervene earlier and help achieve optimal outcomes,” says Anne Luebke, an associate professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience. Luebke is also a co-author of the story which found this particular link.


Many signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are present before the age of two, but they’re not diagnosed until they’re at least four years old. The later that they’re diagnosed, the later that the corrective therapies can begin. The later that the corrective therapies can begin, the more delayed the possible positive impact that the corrective therapies can have. This has been an ongoing challenge for experts in the field, as doctors and scientists search for better ways to detect those at risk earlier. Speech delays are a key indicator and a specific symptom that the doctors and specialists are looking at. This is why so much of the testing relies on speech, but this testing is going to be ineffective on children any younger than aged four.


So Luebke’s study is particularly innovative. It used a technique measuring optoacoustic emissions. This technique is very similar to the screening that hospitals perform on all newborns before they leave the hospital, in order to determine if they have any hearing problems. The hospitals, and this study, use very, very small earplugs, and listen to see if the ears are having any difficulty processing the sounds that they hear. The devices in the earplugs are extremely sensitive and can determine if the cells in the ears are not performing at appropriate levels.


The group tested ranged in age from six to 17. About half of the group has been diagnosed with some degree of ASD. This same half of the group had a hearing frequency of 1-2 kHz, much lower than the other half of the group. The results also found a direct correlation between the severity of ASD symptoms and cochlear impairment.


The Hearlink team will continue to update you, on the blog, when we hear of leaps and bounds in the research industry. It’s work like this, and that of many other doctors and specialists out there, which inspire us to do what we do.

Posted in Industry News By

Hearlink Admin