Sound may grant the ultimate power of connection to us. Researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of Miami have compiled promising data that a routine hearing test administered to newborns may allow doctors to accurately screen those newborns for autism. In other words, there is more evidence that how children hear reflects how they behave and think. That can have profound implications for treating children who may have that neurodiverse mental make-up. Please understand I’m not saying “autistic = defective” or any other such. But autism’s effects, like the effects of many other human conditions, run in a dismaying range of severity. Early intervention therapies can have significant success in mitigating autism’s impact.
This finding echoes other research about sound’s magnificent value for our minds. In 2017, scientists at the University of Waterloo examined the effectiveness of all the possible ways in which people can read – silently to themselves, out loud to themselves, or by having someone read to them, plus a fourth new and unique variable in which people were recorded reading out loud and then they listened to the recording later. Reading out loud to oneself, either in real time or by listening to the recording, improved the test participants’ retention of the information. So I’m gonna brag here – I’ve actively encouraged my clients to think out loud, and to tape record themselves, long before I knew about this research – why lose your thoughts?
And this intriguing article from Mindful.org, Turning Sounds into a Meditation Practice by Bob Stahl September 13 2018, reminds us that even that teeth-grinding clatter of the refrigerator’s ice machine can be used to calming benefit. And all of this, immediately, lets us connect with each other more intimately, more satisfyingly.