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Speech discrimination difficulties in high-functioning autism spectrum disorder are likely independent of auditory hypersensitivity

Dunlop, William A, Enticott, Peter G and Rajan, Ramesh 2016, Speech discrimination difficulties in high-functioning autism spectrum disorder are likely independent of auditory hypersensitivity, Frontiers in human neuroscience, vol. 10, Article number: 401, pp. 1-12, doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00401.

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Title Speech discrimination difficulties in high-functioning autism spectrum disorder are likely independent of auditory hypersensitivity
Author(s) Dunlop, William A
Enticott, Peter GORCID iD for Enticott, Peter G orcid.org/0000-0002-6638-951X
Rajan, Ramesh
Journal name Frontiers in human neuroscience
Volume number 10
Season Article number: 401
Start page 1
End page 12
Total pages 12
Publisher Frontiers Research Foundation
Place of publication Lausanne, Switzerland
Publication date 2016-08-09
ISSN 1662-5161
Keyword(s) autism spectrum disorder
speech-in-noise discrimination
auditory hypersensitivity
auditory attention
auditory behavior questionnaire
Summary Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), characterized by impaired communication skills and repetitive behaviors, can also result in differences in sensory perception. Individuals with ASD often perform normally in simple auditory tasks but poorly compared to typically developed (TD) individuals on complex auditory tasks like discriminating speech from complex background noise. A common trait of individuals with ASD is hypersensitivity to auditory stimulation. No studies to our knowledge consider whether hypersensitivity to sounds is related to differences in speech-in-noise discrimination. We provide novel evidence that individuals with high-functioning ASD show poor performance compared to TD individuals in a speech-in-noise discrimination task with an attentionally demanding background noise, but not in a purely energetic noise. Further, we demonstrate in our small sample that speech-hypersensitivity does not appear to predict performance in the speech-in-noise task. The findings support the argument that an attentional deficit, rather than a perceptual deficit, affects the ability of individuals with ASD to discriminate speech from background noise. Finally, we piloted a novel questionnaire that measures difficulty hearing in noisy environments, and sensitivity to non-verbal and verbal sounds. Psychometric analysis using 128 TD participants provided novel evidence for a difference in sensitivity to non-verbal and verbal sounds, and these findings were reinforced by participants with ASD who also completed the questionnaire. The study was limited by a small and high-functioning sample of participants with ASD. Future work could test larger sample sizes and include lower-functioning ASD participants.
Language eng
DOI 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00401
Field of Research 110906 Sensory Systems
170101 Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology)
Socio Economic Objective 920111 Nervous System and Disorders
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30086120

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Psychology
Open Access Collection
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.