Newborn Hearing Screening May also Detect Autism

Baby’s newborn hearing screen may provide a potential early autism indicator, say experts at the University of Miami and Harvard Medical School. Writing in Autism Research, researchers observed that babies whose inner ears and brain are slower to respond to sounds during the test are more likely to be diagnosed with autism later in life.

The tests measure how a baby’s inner ear and brain responds to sound by recording the auditory nerve activity via electrodes on baby’s scalp. The tests are so mild infants may even sleep through them.

Researchers aren’t ready to advise clinicians use newborn screening for further autism screening, but “we know autism spectrum disorder is connected to how children process sound, so even if the child’s hearing is normal, it can still be processed differently,” they wrote. “With better understanding of how ABR testing can be used to identify at-risk babies, we can flag children who might be at risk for autism.”

To learn more about Autism, read 10 Action Steps for Autism and Anxious about Autism

To see our tips on how to go to term: Go the Full 40

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The Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) promotes the health of women and newborns.

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