Can a Simple Hearing Test Lead to Quicker Autism Diagnosis?

hearing test, autism diagnosis

We’ve talked before about the harms of a delayed diagnosis for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As soon as a parent or guardian senses developmental delays in a child, a doctor should be seen. Because there’s no “outgrowing” autism, the sooner affected children receive help, the better.

Researchers with the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York say that a simple hearing test may be able to spot autism years before other current methods can.

The Hearing Test at a Glance

First, let’s be clear that there is no set medical test that will diagnose autism. Rather, an autism diagnosis is reached after trained doctors and psychologists administer evaluations that are autism-specific.

Even though many of the earliest and reliable signs that point to autism involve hearing, most of the tests to identify the condition rely upon speech. For very young children with communication delays, such tests are often ineffective.

During their research, University of Rochester scientists used the same test newborns undergo to check for hearing capabilities.

Children who had already been diagnosed with autism had difficulty detecting sounds at the 1-2 kHz frequency, which is critical for separating speech from background noise.

The more difficulty the autistic children had in such differentiation, the worse their autism-related symptoms were.

The Link Between Hearing Problems and Autism Diagnosis

In a statement, University of Rochester professor Dr. Loisa Bennetto emphasized the relationship between hearing problems and diagnosing autism.

“Auditory impairment has long been associated with developmental delay and other problems, such as language deficits. While there’s no association between hearing problems and autism, difficulty in processing speech may contribute to some of the core symptoms of (the condition),” she said.

Earlier Screening for Autism

According to research, more than half of school-aged children with autism were first diagnosed when they were 5 or older.

Because the hearing test recommended by the University of Rochester scientists is non-invasive and inexpensive and does not depend on the child responding verbally, it can be used to screen children while they’re infants.

Call The Fitzgerald Law Firm if Your Child Has Autism

Even though there is still no known singular cause of autism, it is widely accepted that the sooner a diagnosis is made, the quicker the patient can begin necessary treatment plans.

Autism has been known to result from a host of causes, including medical malpractice and environmental toxins.

By leveraging the skilled due diligence of The Fitzgerald Law Firm, you’ll be in a much better position to know the causes of autism for your child.

Call us for a free consultation; our number is 800-323-9900.