J Am Acad Audiol 2019; 30(05): 431-443
DOI: 10.3766/jaaa.18062
Articles
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Effects of Auditory Training and Remote Microphone Technology on the Behavioral Performance of Children and Young Adults Who Have Autism Spectrum Disorder

Erin C. Schafer
*   University of North Texas, Denton, TX
,
Kamakshi V. Gopal
*   University of North Texas, Denton, TX
,
Lauren Mathews
*   University of North Texas, Denton, TX
,
Skyler Thompson
*   University of North Texas, Denton, TX
,
Kara Kaiser
*   University of North Texas, Denton, TX
,
Sarah McCullough
*   University of North Texas, Denton, TX
,
Jessalyn Jones
†   Rady Children’s Hospital, San Diego, CA
,
Priscilla Castillo
*   University of North Texas, Denton, TX
,
Emilee Canale
*   University of North Texas, Denton, TX
,
Avery Hutcheson
*   University of North Texas, Denton, TX
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

12 November 2018

30 November 2018

Publication Date:
26 May 2020 (online)

Abstract

Background:

Individuals who have a normal pure-tone audiogram but are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often exhibit poorer speech recognition and auditory processing when compared with neurotypical peers with normal pure-tone audiograms.

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy and effectiveness of a 12-week auditory processing training (APT) program that was designed to address the deleterious effects of background noise and auditory processing deficits that are common among individuals diagnosed with ASD.

Research Design:

A repeated measures design was used.

Study Sample:

The sample consisted of 15 high-functioning children and young adults who had a formal diagnosis of ASD and who were recruited from local clinics and school districts.

Intervention:

Participants completed the 12-week APT program consisting of computerized dichotic training, one-on-one therapist-directed auditory training, and the use of remote microphone (RM) technology at home and in the classroom.

Data Collection and Analysis:

Participants completed a comprehensive test battery to assess general auditory processing skills, speech recognition in noise, acceptance of background noise, spatial processing, binaural integration abilities, self-perceived difficulties, and observed behaviors. Testing was conducted before (n = 15), immediately after (n = 15), and 12 weeks after (n = 7) the completion of the APT program. Paired t-tests, repeated measures analysis of variance, or nonparametric tests were used to analyze the data.

Results:

On average, the APT program significantly enhanced general auditory processing abilities, including binaural integration and subjective listening abilities in the classroom. When the RM was used, significantly improved speech recognition and improved acceptance of background noise was measured relative to a condition with no technology.

Conclusions:

Following the APT program, the participants exhibited the greatest improvements in testing that required binaural integration and auditory working memory. The use of the RM technology was able to address the deleterious effects of noise on speech recognition in noise and acceptance of noise levels.

This study was funded by a research grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.


Portions of this manuscript have been presented at the American Academy of Audiology conferences in 2017 and 2018, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in 2017, and the Educational Audiology Conference in 2017.