“Parents who have children with Lyme disease are very concerned with the impact of the disease on their children’s bodies. One factor that is not well addressed with such children is how the Lyme disease may affect the child’s abilities to process what is heard. “
– Jay R. Lucker
Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders
According to the CDC Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks. Laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods.
Any part of the nervous system may become affected with a wide range of neurological and psychiatric symptoms. Called “The New Great Imitator” Lyme may affect many parts of the body, and include neurological problems, often with serious long-term effects.
The journal Annals of Pediatric & Child Health recently published a Review Article* by Jay R. Lucker which discusses auditory problems in children with Lyme disease citing that hearing problems were found in 48% of patients with late stage Lyme disease. Auditory processing is another factor including hypersensitivity to sound.
Lucker’s article focuses on auditory hypersensitivity and highlights four case studies of children with Lyme disease, three of whom are siblings who were diagnosed after a family camping trip. All four cases demonstrated problems with loudness tolerance. These cases support a conclusion that it is likely that children who contract Lyme disease may have problems with auditory hypersensitivity and other possible auditory processing deficits. The findings also agree with other literature indicating that people with Lyme disease may have auditory hypersensitivity.
The author goes on to discuss treatment for auditory hypersensitivity citing two methods, auditory desensitization and listening therapy or sound intervention, more specifically The Listening Program®®. A combination of the two treatments was suggested and tried with these four cases. Following The Listening Program® parent reports were that all four children had less hypersensitivity and negative behavioral reactions to loud and annoying sounds.
Lucker writes that what these four cases demonstrate is that when a child is identified as having auditory hypersensitivity to sound following a diagnosis of and treatment for Lyme disease that one should evaluate the child’s tolerance of loud sounds to determine whether they have hypersensitive hearing, and then consider using a listening therapy, and desensitization approach to improve tolerance of loud and annoying sounds thus providing better listening for such children.
We are pleased with these findings and the growing interest from the scientific community on the use of The Listening Program® to help people suffering from auditory hypersensitivity.
Read the full article here.
Lucker JR (2015) Auditory Hypersensitivity in Children with Lyme Disease. Ann Pediatr Child Health 3(1: )1035.