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.”
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