04 May 2021

Unilateral hearing loss affects auditory development in infants and toddlers

A unilateral hearing loss affects small children’s early prelingual auditory development, a study finds.

If you suspect that your infant or toddler may have a unilateral hearing loss, you should get its hearing checked.

Children with congenital and permanent unilateral hearing loss experience delays in their early prelingual auditory development, the study finds. The delays are evident soon after birth before initial development of speech and language, according to the Chinese study.

In the study, compared with the children with normal hearing, the children with unilateral hearing loss lagged behind in sound discrimination and identification, preverbal vocalisation, as well as their trajectory of early prelingual auditory development.

The children with severe to profound unilateral hearing loss showed more severe early prelingual auditory development handicaps than children with mild to moderate losses. The auditory functions and early prelingual auditory development trajectory of children with unilateral hearing loss were similar to those with a mild bilateral hearing loss.

About the study

65 children with unilateral hearing loss, 70 children with normal hearing on both ears and 32 children with a mild bilateral hearing loss participated in the study.

The study was conducted at the Hearing Center, West China Hospital of Sichuan University in China. Infants and toddlers under 3 years old, attending Hearing Center from September 2018 to June 2019 and meeting the inclusion criterion, participated in the study.

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

Sources: NCBI and the journal Otology & Neurotology

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