The effects of hearing impairment on symptoms of autism in toddlers

Julie A. Worley, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.
Johnny L. Matson
Alison M. Kozlowski


OBJECTIVE: Individuals diagnosed with certain medical conditions, such as those with hearing loss or impairment, may present with symptoms that mimic those of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate how hearing-compromised toddlers would score relative to toddlers diagnosed with an ASD on a measure of autism symptomatology. METHODS: The Baby and Infant Screen for Children with aUtIsm Traits (BISCUIT) was utilized to compare toddlers diagnosed with an ASD or who had hearing problems. RESULTS: The BISCUIT was effective in differentiating between children with ASD and those with hearing problems. However, atypically developing toddlers scored significantly lower than those with compromised hearing within the communication domain. CONCLUSION: Communication impairment, albeit lower than in toddlers with ASD, is present in toddlers with compromised hearing. As such, this factor should be taken into account when assessing for ASD in toddlers with hearing loss or impairment.