We assessed a group of children with unilateral hearing loss due to congenital aural atresia. Our results showed that children presented difficulties to recognise speech in noise and localise sounds. Also, children and parents report in daily life situations.
Our research adds more information about the consequences that a UHL may have in Children
Auris Nasus Larynx
Objective: To explore the behavioural and functional performance of a group of children with conductive unilateral hearing loss (UHL) due to congenital aural atresia.
Method: Twelve children aged 7 to 16 years (Mage 10.0, SD 3.1 years) formed the UHL group and 15 age-matched children (Mage 9.5, SD 3.6 years) with normal hearing formed the control group. Auditory skills were assessed using tests of sound localisation, spatial speech perception in noise, and self-ratings of auditory abilities (Listening Inventory for Education; LIFE and Speech, Spatial and Qualities of Hearing scale; SSQ).
Results: When speech was directed to the good ear, performance was poorer than for normal hearing controls. Sound localisation abilities were impaired in children with UHL. Children with UHL reported higher levels of difficulties in classroom settings compared to children with normal hearing, particularly for activities involving listening in noise and focused listening activities. Older children self-report and parents report difficulties for their children across all SSQ scales.
Conclusions: Children with UHL showed a wide range of auditory difficulties. As expected, speech recognition in noise differed from controls. Sound localisation abilities were variable; greater variability was seen for right ear hearing losses suggesting that some of these children may have developed compensatory mechanisms. Younger children identified listening difficulties for school situations where focussed auditory attention was needed. Older children and parents reported greatest difficulty for activities requiring perception of the direction, distance, and movement of sound. Higher levels of effort and inability to ignore sounds were reported as major difficulties.
Keywords: Aural atresia; SSQ; Self-reported hearing difficulties; Sound localisation; Speech recognition in noise; Unilateral hearing loss.