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Anybody know of a link between Tinnitus and ASD?

(8 Posts)
Georgetta Sun 23-Sep-12 01:15:33

My DS,12,has ASD , and lately has been saying he has a sort of constant ringing/tone sound in both of his ears and that it has always been there as long as he can remember.It obviously isnt so severe that it interferes with school etc as he would have mentioned it before now(its the first I have heard of it tbh,but he keeps on about it last few weeks). On the other hand,how would a child know that this is not the norm,hearingwise,if its not that severe,when he was growing up? I am wondering if ,like he says,its always been there but has gotten a bit louder lately?I have seen several references to it online and it seems that is indeed more common in kids with autism.
Does anyone have any experience of this?I am wondering if I should get him tested?confused.

porridgelover Sun 23-Sep-12 10:09:16

I havent heard that one but my DS who has ASD does have HUGE auditory issues. So I wonder if it's all part of the same picture?

Georgetta Sun 23-Sep-12 12:01:26

Thanks Porridgelover-I think you are probably right as auditory issues definitely go hand-in-hand with ASD.Ds also has a touch of auditory processing disorder which is undiagnosed but which I am convinced of myself.Its not really appeared to be an issue until now-he often doesnt'catch'what someone says to him or mishears words.It appears to be mild-I'm not sure what advantage there is to getting him seen/dx with something else-what exactly can they do? Hmm, not sure what to do really or where to go with this onehmm.How is your ds affected porridgelover as regards his auditory issues?

porridgelover Sun 23-Sep-12 12:49:49 DS had huge issues when younger. He was highly defensive to many sounds e.g. helicopters, trains, handdryers, hoovers, road sweepers would terrify him. Any unexpected sounds was life-threatening for him.
Literally used to try to climb inside me to get away from them.
He had huge vestibular issues too....dizziness, difficulty judging heights and depths e.g. getting on/off escalators.

I did Therapeutic Listening which helped a bit.
I also took him on a LiFT programme.
That made a major change for him.

Now he still has problems, especially in noisy places e.g. echoey supermarket but copes.

Ineedalife Sun 23-Sep-12 14:19:21

Is it possible that he is hearing sounds from lights, fridges, tv etc. many gadgets hum even when they are not switched on.

I know Dd3 hears these noises as she often comments on them and to a degree I hear them too. My ears seem to home in on humming sounds and then I find I can only hear that sound and I cant concentrate on what I am supposed to be listening tohmm

No help really, sorry.

NoHaudinMaWheest Mon 24-Sep-12 00:25:22

I can't say anything about an ASD/ tinnitus link as it is my NT dd who has tinnitus but I can tell you what happened when we asked for a referral.
I was worried as tinnitus can be a sign of a hearing disorder and she did sometimes not appear to hear something said to her properly. She saw an ENT consultant and had a audiogram. This showed minor problems and she was reassessed a year later. This time the audiologist picked up that she was having difficulties differentiating the audiogram sounds from her tinnitus. The resultant audiogram was normal and the ENT consultant discharged her.

At her first appointment she was also referred to a hearing therapist. She has seen her a few times and the therapist explained that tinnitus is due a heightened awareness of normal sounds (which would fit with an ASD sensitivity, I suppose). She has given DD strategies to deal with the tinnitus and also with the acutely hypersenstive hearing which certain noises can trigger. She has also written to the SENCO at school to ask if strategies can be put in place to minimise certain situations DD found made her tinnitus worse. (School have implemented one but not the other as one teacher was more sympathetic than the other but she has since changed teachers so I have not pursued it.)

I must say that I was impressed with the hearing therapist - if only all the professionals I have come across were so good.

I think it might be worth asking for an ENT referral to rule out any hearing problem per se and worth seeing a hearing therapist if one was on offer. They might need some prompting to be clued up about ASD though.


MrsShrek3 Mon 24-Sep-12 00:42:41

I wandered in also to say that hypersensitivity is often associated with ASD, and my ds1 (11 and a half) can also hear stuff that I can't (he also does it visually too and used to say when he was small that lights can be "too loud" meaning that they're too bright, flicker, and show up too much detail and reflection from other objects - not necessarily that they buzz or hum) He is unable to operate the sorts of filters that we have to take out the background noise of a house or environment and therefore gets the full effect of it all the time, regardles of whether it's useful or hepful, or the opposite. My ds1 is also very hypersensitive about his ears - only he can touch them, and I'm not even allowed near them in case I might have a towel or an earbud hmm <clearly I cleaned his ears once, when he was 2>
That said, well worth getting him checked if he will let someone look you're doing better than us maybe explain to him first that the gp would shine a light in to his ear and may put an instrument into the outer part of his ear to get a better look smile

Georgetta Mon 24-Sep-12 00:49:28

Thanks for all the replies ladies-very helpfulsmile.I think I will get it checked out .First stop is with GP I suppose for a referral.I will have a word with the school also and see what they think.

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