Judith E. C. Lieu, MD
Hearing Loss in Children
While bilateral hearing loss – in both ears – has been known to cause speech-language and academic delays, health and education professionals have often discounted the effect of hearing loss in a single ear on a child’s language skills. These children may not be fitted with hearing aids or receive accommodations for disability. A new study suggests children with unilateral hearing loss – in a single ear – should be eligible for the same accommodations as children with bilateral hearing loss. The study, “Unilateral Hearing Loss is Associated With Worse Speech-Language Scores in Children,” published in the June print issue of Pediatrics (appearing online May 10), compared 74 children ages 6 to 12 years with unilateral hearing loss to their siblings with normal hearing. Children with unilateral hearing loss scored significantly worse in oral language skills than their siblings. Study authors suggest more research is needed to determine when the onset of speech-language delays occurs and the mechanisms through which unilateral hearing loss affects speech-language development, and whether any interventions might mitigate the effects of unilateral hearing loss.
Dr.Judith E. C. Lieu, MD, Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine, comes on the show to discuss these findings and hearing loss in children.
Dr. Judith Lieu is a pediatric ear, nose, and throat physician, on faculty at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and St. Louis Children's Hospital. In addition to her clinical practice, she engages in clinical research about children with hearing loss.
Melanie Cole, M.S.