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Longitudinal study of children with unilateral hearing loss

Authors

  • Judith E. C. Lieu MD, MSPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
    • 660 S. Euclid Ave., Campus Box 8115, St. Louis, MO 63110
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  • Nancy Tye-Murray PhD,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
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  • Qiang Fu MD, PhD

    1. Department of Biostatistics, St. Louis University School of Public Health, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
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  • This work was presented at the 115th Triological Society Annual Meeting at COSM, San Diego, California, U.S.A., April 20–21, 2012. It is a corecipient of the Mosher Award for Triological Thesis.

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis:

Children with unilateral hearing loss (UHL) have been found to have lower language scores, and increased rate of speech therapy, grade failures, or needing Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). The objective of this study was to determine whether language skills and educational performance improved or worsened over time in a cohort of children with UHL.

Study Design:

Prospective longitudinal cohort study.

Methods:

Forty-six children with permanent UHL, ages 6 to 12 years, were studied using standardized cognitive, achievement, and language testing at yearly intervals for 3 years. Using standardized test scores allowed implicit comparison to norms established by national cross-sectional samples. Secondary outcomes included behavioral issues, IEPs, receipt of speech therapy, or teacher report of problems at school. Analysis utilized repeated measures analysis of variance and multilevel random regression modeling.

Results:

Several cognitive and language mean standardized scores increased over time. Possible predictors of increase with time included higher baseline cognitive levels and receipt of interventions through an IEP. However, standardized achievement scores and indicators of school performance did not show concomitant improvements. Rates of IEPs remained >50% throughout, and rates of speech therapy were consistently about 20%.

Conclusions:

Children with UHL demonstrated improvement in oral language and verbal intelligence quota scores over time, but not improvements in school performance. Parents and teachers reported persistent behavioral problems and academic weaknesses or areas of concern in about 25%. The provision of IEPs for children with UHL, and acknowledging UHL as a hearing disability, may be an effective intervention to improve language skills over time. Laryngoscope, 2012

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