Hearing & Autism
11/11/2009 6:29:58 PM
My son was diagnosed with PDD at 2-1/2 yrs. but I had noticed things from birth. Had his hearing tested at 2 months old and he speaks now (17 yrs. old) with a VERY loud voice.
Questions About Autism
8/9/2009 3:59:56 PM
QUESTIONS ABOUT AUTISM Written by Fine Art Specialist / TRACEE PICKETT Director of Education and Art @ TRACEE AND COMPANY Doctors have never questioned hearing differences as a plausible cause for Autism’s existence. When you hear differently, it is not always apparent to the people around you. Even in testing for sound variances, it is difficult to determine whether one person hears differently than another. The standard test for sound and hearing are tones beeped into the ear at different levels. During the hearing tests, the individual is asked whether they hear tones loud, louder, and loudest. One of the problem with is, is that, first of all, infants that are born with Autism, can not answer these questions. Not being able to answer these question at infant stages prevents a whole set of knowledge about that child that could help parents treat the child more appropriately to the differences in perception, if understood at the earliest stages. Though it is not new to the world to understand that early art instruction in a quiet caring environment with individual attention is helpful in the earliest stages and into the future of children who have Autism and children without Autism. And, even after being able to answer the question of sound differences at an older age, the test do not reveal the individuals perception of the sound, only that it is louder or not loud. Distortions of sound can happen in the ear canal if a child is born with a bone or blockage that presses on the ear canal nerves. The pressure on the nerves is similar to the pressure on a string instrument. As there is pressure on the nerve inside the ear canal, it can change the sound interval and decimals of sound in the ear, just like a string instrument or any pressure change in the playing of an instrument can change the sound. In the human ear canal, that sound can distort with all the complicated mechanisms of the human ear and the ear drum and the set of nerves which ultimately connects to the brain and which transports those sounds to the brain. The ear canal has very complicated mechanisms and unlike a musical instrument, the ear canals nerves are connected to the brain and the body which when struck in the wrong manor, can cause a terrible debilitating effect. Think of a time when an extremely loud noise hits your ear and you shutter and you body sort of curls up. Your brain and body is instantly affected by the loud noise and reacts. It is possible that children who have Autism hear a sort of distortion in the ear and if the distortion is loud and even sharp to the ears, it can place that child or person with Autism into their own world as the sound that the ear is recognizing is different from what others would hear therefore changing the child’s or grown persons experience if treated with the usual levels of sound in the room. This kind of sound distortion can create a different effect in the equilibrium which can be very disturbing. It is also possible that as the ear canal changes, or grows, (transforms during growth), as the individual matures, the same displacement of a bone, cartilage, or fiber in the ear canal that originally pressed on the nerves, can expand, or grow, to inter-fear with the ear vessels and the set of nerves that connect to those vessels, thus, creating the same kind of sound distortion which could cause a “Delayed Autism” (a type of Autism caused after birth and even into adulthood) effect. Of course as long as we are thinking about the different possibilities of growth and changes in the ear canal, I would also like to point out that, if Delayed Autism is possible then also the opposite could be possible. And with the changes in the ear canal, “or growth” (transformation of growth) there could be an un-obstructed effect that is possible in the ear canal, which could also, if the above is true, reverse this sort of audible effect. After some interaction working in instructional levels with children that have Autism in fully integrated classrooms in the fine arts with very small student population, and after a personal experience that I had, I began to think that sound variances might be the difficulty that individuals that have Autism might face. And after mortifying effects from debilitating sound which was being amplified in my ear and carried to my brain, I must say, before this all happened to me, I wouldn’t have said it was possible. My experience was with a blockage in the ear canal from a relatively large solid piece of wax build-up. The wax blockage was so solid and large in the ear canal that when I experienced stress, the ear canal vessels would swell up. The wax then pressed on the vessels in the ear canal, thus pressing on a set of nerves, creating distortion of the sound around me and extreme and excessive amounts of pain in the nerves connected to the vessels. So far, two effects were happening. One was, that the instruments in the ear allowing sound to happen were actually causing the ear to hear sound at very loud intervals (decimal levels unknown to most people), and, the nerves were being frayed by the loud sounds. After prolonged amounts of pain in the ear due to a striking of the nerves that run into the brain which are connected directly to the nerves in ear canal, that run under the base of the scull into the back of the neck, and also nerves running into the face and one set of nerves that ran down the right side of the neck, (as it was primarily my right ear) into the right jaw line, over the jugular, and down the right front shoulder area. The nerves were in such distress that it was more like experiencing the nerves to be more like hot electrical wires running through the effected areas. This of course was after a prolonged period of distressed time. When the stress was reduced the inflammation was reduced and then there was less pain. What was helpful was when I was swimming and fully immersed in water which helped reduce the stress. Swimming greatly reduced the swelling and the stress causing at least a soothing temporary environment. Other relief was from proper foods and activity to get my mind off the pain and staying away from electronic and loud noise. The wax blockage was never discovered for many years, more damage to the nerves became excessively more painful and even caused convolutions, very loud gonging sounds in the ear that amplify when you lay down and eventually, violent vomiting, violent headaches, and then total hearing loss several days before I arrived in the family doctors office and finally that day the wax in the ear was removed. It was a mortifying experience for me before the wax was removed, as just answering the phone became painful and alarming. As I was hearing noise around me at amplified levels, even a car passing in front of the house was like hearing it drive through the front door. Electronic sounds became sources of immense pain because of the higher frequency of sound that it produces. With electrical noise from washers and refrigerators and other house hold equipment, the vibratory impulse of the electrical elements, sent horrible vibrations to the nerves affected. The electronic high frequency of sound hits the very sore nerves in the ear causing further pain and further sound variances and also made it very difficult to sleep. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t sleep for two years really. Once the wax blockage was removed, there was no more distortion to the sound in my ear. There was, some minor swelling in the ear causing a ringing in the ear for a few minutes here and there and a great deal of pain. However, because it was not discovered for so long, I was left with a great deal of damage to the nerves which caused vulnerability to the brain where the nerves are connected and the nerves were frayed , which take years of repair and sometimes are not repairable. After the experience of such damage, it occurred to me to share with you my thoughts on the subject and extend information on the possible relationship to the cause of Autism. After my experience I realized that it was possible that the same effect in the mechanisms of the ear canal and effects on the nerves could very well be the problem to children with Autism, as I have noticed that some children with Autism move there heads around in an uncomfortable funny way (much like children who have ear infections) and some children tend to cover their ears and they sometimes avoid what is going on around them, sometimes children with Autism speak louder as if they can’t hear the same, and some rock back and forth in earlier stages as to lull themselves. I’d like to add, that my experience was similar to the sound and vibrations of a bomb hitting the ear canal and striking all the nerves connected at full force to the brain and body with the exception that a bomb is experienced all at one time and my ear and brain experienced the effects of a bomb, yet with similar yet lower tones and lower vibrations for an extended period of time, ending in injuries much like the experience of a bomb. The brain experiences a sort of shell shock in either case, which can damage nerves and can damage connectors in the brain causing connectors or ion connections to collapse which is in a sense like cancer. I’m not completely sure about the individual who has Autism and whether there are audible differences, though it is certainly a possibility. There are a few other things to conceder while we are on the subject. When thinking of the ears and any obstruction that could cause pressure on the nerves in the ears, there is also the positioning of the neck and back that could effect the position of mechanisms in the ear. Posture can also effect the nerves in the spinal cord effecting us in many other horrible ways, and well that is an article in it self. With the overall human growth process and a posture relationship to the: body, brain, the shoulder and neck region, we must begin to realize that in a distortion of posture (a sort of slouch or dis-configured posture), the mechanisms of the ear canal into the ear can obstruct nerves as well. It might prove a positive outcome to think of this information as we look into causes of hearing loss as we get older and as posture can change. The effects of posture in relationship to the effects of the blocked nerves in the ear, when your back has slipped a disc; the disc is then pushed into the wrong place blocking nerves causing pain in the nerve center which runs through the spinal cord. The posture position of the human body can affect the shape of the ear structure diversely by displacing bones, cartilage, and nerves in the ear canal. During changes in the posture, it is possible to have different effects, good or bad. Taking a close look at posture is something to keep in mind. In closing, when experiencing audible differences, don’t paint your self into one conclusion as to the reason you or your patient might be experiencing sound variances. Even extra fluid in the ear could be the culprit of auditory changes. Stress alone is enough to cause ringing tones in the ear. Certainly auditory impairments, Autism, and all ailments must comprehensively be understood from all perspectives of the human condition to begin to understand the causes and what could be effective at treating all conditions that we as human have. My condition was caused by a horrible case of tinnitus and took many years to discover and could have saved me a lot of further injury, anguish, and pain, if treated properly much sooner… Though, can you imagine going to the doctor’s office to say, “There is the sound of a giant gong in my right ear doctor, do you hear it?