Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Kids with hearing loss in one ear fall behind in language skills, study finds

Date:
May 5, 2010
Source:
Washington University School of Medicine
Summary:
By the time they reach school age, one in 20 children have hearing loss in one ear. That can raise significant hurdles for these children, say the results of a new study, because loss of hearing in one ear hurts their ability to comprehend and use language.

By the time they reach school age, one in 20 children have hearing loss in one ear. That can raise significant hurdles for these children, say the results of a new study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, because loss of hearing in one ear hurts their ability to comprehend and use language.

"For many years, pediatricians and educators thought that as long as children have one normal hearing ear, their speech and language would develop normally," says lead author Judith E. C. Lieu, MD, a Washington University ear, nose and throat specialist at St. Louis Children's Hospital.

"But then a few studies began suggesting these children might have problems in school. Now our study has shown that on average, children with hearing loss in one ear have poorer oral language scores than children with hearing in both ears," Lieu says.

Hearing loss in one ear can stem from congenital abnormalities in the ear, head trauma or infections such as meningitis. Children with hearing loss in one ear may go undetected because they can appear to have normal hearing. Their difficulty hearing may be mistaken simply for lack of attention or selective hearing, says Lieu, assistant professor of otolaryngology.

Even children with recognized one-side hearing loss often aren't fitted with hearing aids and often don't receive accommodations for disability.

The study will be published in the June issue of the journal Pediatrics.

The researchers studied 74 six- to 12-year-old children with hearing loss in one ear. Each was matched with a sibling with normal hearing so that the researchers could minimize the possible effects of environmental and genetic factors on the children's language skills. The children were tested with the Oral and Written Language Scales (OWLS), a widely used tool to assess language comprehension and expression.

An average OWLS score is 100, and hearing loss in one ear caused about a 10-point drop in scores. The oral composite score -- which reflects both children's ability to understand what is said to them and their ability to respond or express themselves -- averaged 90 in children with hearing loss in one ear.

Lieu says that the study demonstrated the strongest effect from hearing loss in one ear in children who are living below the poverty level or with mothers who have little education. Poverty levels and maternal education levels are well-established influences on language skills, and hearing loss in one ear may increase that effect.

"This study should raise awareness that if children with hearing loss in one ear are having difficulties in speech or reading in school, their hearing may be part of the problem," Lieu says. "Parents, educators and pediatricians shouldn't assume that having hearing in one ear means children won't need additional assistance."

The study does not address which possible solutions will be most effective for overcoming the decrease in language skills seen in the children with hearing loss in one ear. But Lieu suggests that studies could be done to see if hearing aids or amplification systems in the classroom will help.

In addition, having an educational audiologist as part of an individualized educational plan might be beneficial.

"The effect of hearing loss in one ear may be subtle," Lieu says. "These children may shun large group situations because the noise overwhelms them, and they have a hard time understanding speech. They could have difficulties playing team sports because they can't localize sound well and can't tell who is calling to them.

"For them, listening takes a lot more work, and they may have to put in extra effort," Lieu says. "We don't know yet if the hearing loss ultimately affects their overall educational achievement and eventually, even which occupations they choose."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University School of Medicine. The original article was written by Gwen Ericson. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lieu JEC, Tye-Murray N, Karzon RK, Piccirillo JF. Unilateral hearing loss is associated with worse speech-language scores in children. Pediatrics, 2010; 125 (6)

Cite This Page:

Washington University School of Medicine. "Kids with hearing loss in one ear fall behind in language skills, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100504155411.htm>.
Washington University School of Medicine. (2010, May 5). Kids with hearing loss in one ear fall behind in language skills, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100504155411.htm
Washington University School of Medicine. "Kids with hearing loss in one ear fall behind in language skills, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100504155411.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins