Children with autism could be diagnosed at birth with a simple hearing test، according to new research، as the Daily Mail said.
It would enable treatments to begin years before symptoms develop - when they are more likely to work.
The technique measures pressure changes in the middle ear in response to sounds - assessing sensitivity and response times to a wide range of frequencies.
Known as acoustic، or 'stapedial'، reflex testing it's non-invasive - so can be used on infants without endangering their health. There is a strong link between auditory dysfunction and autism suggesting newborns with hearing issues could be monitored for the neuro-developmental disorder.
Professor of anatomy Randy Kulesza Jr at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pennsylvania، hopes it will lead to a screening program for all kids.
He said: 'Especially early in life the brain is very plastic - meaning the right early interventions can literally train out those deficits.
'The person might not be perfectly neuro-typical - but such interventions can improve function.'
Children with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) have problems with communicating، social interaction and are prone to repetitive behaviours.
But most cases are not confirmed until after the age of four meaning corrective therapies are started later - delaying their potential impact.
Some of the earliest and most consistent signs involve hearing but most tests rely on speech - making them ineffective in the very young.
The acoustic reflex is an involuntary muscle contraction in the ear when we speak - or hear loud noises.
Muscles pull tightly within the 'middle ear' to protect the delicate machinery of the inner ear from being damaged.
It's mostly used against deeper، low-frequency sounds - such as a heavy object hitting with the floor.