Peripheral Audition of Children on the Autistic Spectrum

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To determine whether the peripheral audition of a group of children comprehensively diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum was quantitatively different from that of a matched group of typically developing children.


Thirty-seven children with autism and an equal number of control participants matched for chronological age within 6 mo were examined by means of behavioral and physiologic measures of auditory function. All participants had normal hearing (thresholds <15 dB HL; 0.25 to 8 kHz) and normal middle ear function by quantitative tympanometry. Conventional behavioral audiometry, a computer-assisted threshold assessment procedure, acoustic middle ear muscle reflex thresholds, and evoked otoacoustic emissions (both transient and distortion product) tests were administered to both groups.


No significant differences between children with autism and those developing typically on any behavioral or physiologic measure of peripheral auditory function were found.


There was no evidence of intrinsic differences in the peripheral auditory mechanism of children with autism that would account for the auditory processing disorders and sound sensitivity that are commonly reported in this population.

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