09 March 2021

Small children with unilateral hearing loss have problems with their auditory development

If your infant or toddler has a unilateral hearing loss, it will probably have delays in its early prelingual auditory development, a study finds.

A study has found that small children with congenital and permanent unilateral hearing loss have delays in their early prelingual auditory development and that the problems are evident soon after birth and before the initial development of speech and language.

Study findings

Compared with normal hearing children, children with unilateral hearing loss lagged behind in their sound discrimination, sound identification and preverbal vocalisation, as well as their early prelingual auditory development, according to the study.

The auditory functions and early prelingual auditory development of children with unilateral hearing loss were similar to the children with bilateral mild hearing loss. Children with severe-to-profound unilateral hearing loss exhibited more severe early prelingual auditory development handicaps than children with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.

About the study

The study was carried out among infants and toddlers before 3 years of age and consisted of 65 children with unilateral hearing loss, 70 children with bilateral normal hearing and 32 children with bilateral mild hearing loss.

The study was conducted at the Hearing Center, West China Hospital of Sichuan University in China.

The study, “Early Prelingual Auditory Development of Infants and Toddlers With Unilateral Hearing Loss”, was published in the journal Otology & Neurotology.

What to do?

If you suspect that your small child has hearing problems in one or both ears, you should contact your family doctor or an ENT to get their hearing tested.

Sources: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and the journal Otology & Neurotology

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