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Hearing Loss in ChildrenA Review

Educational Objective
To review the clinical management of children with hearing loss.
1 Credit CME

Importance  Hearing loss in children is common and by age 18 years, affects nearly 1 of every 5 children. Without hearing rehabilitation, hearing loss can cause detrimental effects on speech, language, developmental, educational, and cognitive outcomes in children.

Observations  Consequences of hearing loss in children include worse outcomes in speech, language, education, social functioning, cognitive abilities, and quality of life. Hearing loss can be congenital, delayed onset, or acquired with possible etiologies including congenital infections, genetic causes including syndromic and nonsyndromic etiologies, and trauma, among others. Evaluation of hearing loss must be based on suspected diagnosis, type, laterality and degree of hearing loss, age of onset, and additional variables such as exposure to cranial irradiation. Hearing rehabilitation for children with hearing loss may include use of hearing aids, cochlear implants, bone anchored devices, or use of assistive devices such as frequency modulating systems.

Conclusions and Relevance  Hearing loss in children is common, and there has been substantial progress in diagnosis and management of these cases. Early identification of hearing loss and understanding its etiology can assist with prognosis and counseling of families. In addition, awareness of treatment strategies including the many hearing device options, cochlear implant, and assistive devices can help direct management of the patient to optimize outcomes.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Judith E. C. Lieu, MD, MSPH, 660 S Euclid Ave, Campus Box 8115, St Louis, MO 63110 (lieujudithe@wustl.edu).

Accepted for Publication: August 27, 2020.

Author Contributions: Dr Lieu had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: All authors.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: Lieu, Kenna.

Drafting of the manuscript: All authors.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.

Administrative, technical, or material support: All authors.

Supervision: Lieu.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Lieu reported receiving personal fees from OSSEO 2019, the 7th International Congress on Bone Conduction Hearing and Related Technologies and being the coinventor of the HEAR-QL, a hearing-related quality of life survey copyrighted by Washington University, for which she occasionally receives royalties. Dr Kenna reported receiving grant support from the National Institutes of Health. Dr Davidson reported receiving grants from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, and receiving support from Oticon Research. Drs Lieu, Kenna, and Davidson all reported being coeditors of Pediatric Sensorineural Hearing Loss: Clinical Diagnosis and Management. No other disclosures were reported.

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