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Auditory integration training

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Introduction

This information is for people who have a child with autism. It tells you about auditory integration training, a treatment used for autism. It is based on the best and most up-to-date research.

Does it work?

We don't know. There haven't been any good-quality studies of auditory integration training. You may hear it called AIT for short.

A group of experts on child health, called the American Academy of Pediatrics, says that AIT should only be used for research. [125] In the UK, it's hard to get AIT for your child.

What is it?

Sound comes in different levels. These levels are called frequencies. AIT is based on the idea that children with autism have problems with behaviour and learning because they are too sensitive to certain levels of sound.

Treatment with AIT involves listening to music through headphones. A child listens to the music twice a day, for 10 days. Each session lasts for 30 minutes. The music is adjusted to change certain sound levels or make them not as loud.

How can it help?

We don't know if it can help. There haven't been many studies of AIT. [126]

One summary of the research said there was no reliable evidence that it worked. [127]

How does it work?

Some people say AIT works by training your child's hearing all over again so that they are less sensitive to certain levels of sound. But there isn't much evidence for this. [126]

Can it be harmful?

Doctors worry that the machines used to give AIT can give off levels of noise that may harm your child's hearing. [126] Usually, you can only get AIT from a private professional. Also, AIT can cost a lot.

How good is the research on auditory integration training?

There haven't been any good-quality studies (randomised controlled trials) of auditory integration training (called AIT for short). So there isn't any reliable evidence to tell us if it works and if it's safe in children with autism. [128]

One summary of the research found six small studies. But three of them said it didn't work, and the other three were not reliable. The summary authors said there was no good evidence to use AIT. [127]

Glossary

randomised controlled trials

Randomised controlled trials are medical studies designed to test whether a treatment works. Patients are split into groups. One group is given the treatment being tested (for example, an antidepressant drug) while another group (called the comparison or control group) is given an alternative treatment. This could be a different type of drug or a dummy treatment (a placebo). Researchers then compare the effects of the different treatments.

For more terms related to Autism

Citations

For references related to Autism click here.
Last Updated: June 20, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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