Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 39, Issue 8, pp 1185–1196

Effects of Background Noise on Cortical Encoding of Speech in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-009-0737-0

Cite this article as:
Russo, N., Zecker, S., Trommer, B. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2009) 39: 1185. doi:10.1007/s10803-009-0737-0


This study provides new evidence of deficient auditory cortical processing of speech in noise in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Speech-evoked responses (~100–300 ms) in quiet and background noise were evaluated in typically-developing (TD) children and children with ASD. ASD responses showed delayed timing (both conditions) and reduced amplitudes (quiet) compared to TD responses. As expected, TD responses in noise were delayed and reduced compared to quiet responses. However, minimal quiet-to-noise response differences were found in children with ASD, presumably because quiet responses were already severely degraded. Moreover, ASD quiet responses resembled TD noise responses, implying that children with ASD process speech in quiet only as well as TD children do in background noise.


AutismCortical encodingSpeechBackground noiseChildrenEvoked potentials

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication SciencesNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics, Division of NeurologyMaimonides Medical CenterBrooklynUSA
  3. 3.Biological Sciences DepartmentNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  4. 4.The Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences; Neurobiology & Physiology; OtolaryngologyNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA