Characteristic Deviations of Auditory Evoked Potentials in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Kamakshi V. Gopal, Erin C. Schafer, Rajesh Nandy, Ashley Brown, Joshua Caldwell, Bryce Phillips, Gabrielle Ballard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background Neurological, structural, and behavioral abnormalities are widely reported in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); yet there are no objective markers to date. We postulated that by using dominant and nondominant ear data, underlying differences in auditory evoked potentials (AEPs) between ASD and control groups can be recognized. Purpose The primary purpose was to identify if significant differences exist in AEPs recorded from dominant and nondominant ear stimulation in (1) children with ASD and their matched controls, (2) adults with ASD and their matched controls, and (3) a combined child and adult ASD group and control group. The secondary purpose was to explore the association between the significant findings of this study with those obtained in our previous study that evaluated the effects of auditory training on AEPs in individuals with ASD. Research Design Factorial analysis of variance with interaction was performed. Study Sample Forty subjects with normal hearing between the ages of 9 and 25 years were included. Eleven children and 9 adults with ASD were age- and gender-matched with neurotypical peers. Data Collection and Analysis Auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) and auditory late responses (ALRs) were recorded. Adult and child ASD subjects were compared with non-ASD adult and child control subjects, respectively. The combined child and adult ASD group was compared with the combined child and adult control group. Results No significant differences in ABR latency or amplitude were observed between ASD and control groups. ALR N1 amplitude in the dominant ear was significantly smaller for the ASD adult group compared with their control group. Combined child and adult data showed significantly smaller amplitude for ALR N1 and longer ALR P2 latency in the dominant ear for the ASD group compared with the control group. In our earlier study, the top predictor of behavioral improvement following auditory training was ALR N1 amplitude in the dominant ear. Correspondingly, the ALR N1 amplitude in the dominant ear yielded group differences in the current study. Conclusions ALR peak N1 amplitude is proposed as the most feasible AEP marker in the evaluation of ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20102
Pages (from-to)379-385
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Audiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • AEP marker
  • auditory brainstem responses
  • auditory late potentials
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • neurotypical peers


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