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AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER AND HEARING CONCERNS.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complex condition which often appears in early childhood and affects an individual’s ability to communicate, socialize and overall development.  What is little known is that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects each person differently and can impact upon hearing health.   Indeed, sometimes a child who has initially had concerns raised in clinic about their hearing development as they do not appear to be hearing or responding to their family may eventually go on to receive a diagnosis of ASD.  It should be noted, however, that this is by no means always the case and there is no proven association between hearing loss and autism.

It is thought that children with ASD have difficulties in processing speech as they process sound differently from other children.  Some children with autism may have an inner ear deficiency which impairs their ability to recognize speech.  This auditory impairment can be associated with overall developmental delay.  An Audiologist can assess and determine your child’s exact hearing deficit and suggest management strategies.  These may include using amplifying devices, assistive listening devices, noise cancelling custom-made earplugs or using a hearing aid.  Do not worry as hearing aid technology has improved and evolved a great deal and many hearing aids are now extremely small, even invisible to others.

People with ASD can experience either under-sensitivity or over-sensitivity to certain frequencies and volumes, (hyperacusis), and this can lead to experiencing discomfort and in some cases, individuals report experiencing pain.  Sounds which may not be particularly noticeable to neuro-typical people such as a dog barking or a hand dryer operating can have a profound effect upon the hearing of people with ASD.  This can lead to people avoiding certain places or situations in order to protect their ears and this can lead to social isolation.

At Stourbridge Hearing Centre our experienced and qualified Audiologist, Ansa, will be happy to conduct a full hearing assessment and advise you of the best products, services and course of action to take.  If you have any queries or would like more information and advice please contact us on (01384) 476 306 and we will be happy to assist you.  Thank you.

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