Aural atresia (AA) is associated with maximal conductive hearing loss in affected ears, and children with bilateral AA require amplification. Some recent research has suggested an increased risk for speech and learning problems among children with unilateral sensorineural hearing loss.
To investigate whether increased risk for speech and learning problems exists among children with AA.
Retrospective medical record review.
Multidisciplinary craniofacial clinic.
Children with unilateral or bilateral AA.
Records review, including evaluations by audiologists, speech pathologists, and psychologists.
Main Outcome Measures
Rates of speech and/or language delay, prevalence of speech therapy and educational interventions, and parental report of psychosocial problems.
A total of 74 patients were identified who met inclusion and exclusion criteria: 48 with right-sided AA, 19 with left-sided AA, and 7 with bilateral AA. Children with AA demonstrated high rates of speech therapy (86% among bilateral, 43% among unilateral). Reports of school problems were more common among children with right-sided AA (31%) than those with left-sided AA (11%) or bilateral AA (0%) (P = .06). Educational interventions were common in all groups (33% right, 21% left, 43% bilateral). In the case of bilateral AA, all children who received additional interventions were enrolled in schools for the hearing impaired, without any identified learning deficiencies.
Conclusions and Relevance
Children with unilateral AA may be at greater risk of speech and learning difficulties than previously appreciated, similar to children with unilateral sensorineural hearing loss. Whether amplification may alleviate this risk is unclear and warrants further study.