Audiology/Otolaryngology/16 month old with hearing loss

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Question
My daughter recently had an abr after failing normal hearing tests and come to find out her R side is normal but she has a sensoryneural (sp?) moderate hearing loss across the board in the L. I have yet to receive the full report but I was told she wouldn't need a hearing aid unless her good ear goes bad or she gets behind in speech. She already has a four month speech delay and will be starting speech therapy. Is waiting for her speech to become a bigger issue normal or should I be thinking of aiding her? I have heard that some children receive mri's or ct scan after a diagnosis, is that normal procedure. I'm not sure how I feel about those. Thank you in advance for answering my questions.

Answer
Hello Raechell,

I know finding this diagnosis out for your daughter can be difficult, but you are doing the right thing by seeking more information and questioning what you have been told.  You will be your daughter's best advocate.  I am going to be frank--I don't agree with the recommendation.  I do think that a moderate flat unilateral sensorineural hearing loss should be aided--especially in children.  If that ear does not receive amplification and appropriate stimulation, it will lose development and ability to understand and process sounds and speech that may not be recoverable later on in life.  I am not sure if it was an ENT or an Audiologist who told you that, but find an audiologist who knows better and pursue the aid.

That being said, speech can develop with one normal ear, but the addition of the other ear can help with environmental awareness, listening in noise and in the classroom (when that age comes) and provides for "easier" listening.  Getting your daughter to keep the aid on will be the main challenge in the beginning, but consistency will reward you/her later and she will actually start asking for it when not in her ear.  She will recognize the benefits.

Often, additional testing (such as MRI, CT, or even genetic testing) are recommended to learn what may be causing the loss so that more information can be gathered to help predict whether the loss may progress and how.  For example, one anatomical issue related to a fluid filled region of the inner ear can be larger than normal (called Large Vestibular Aqueduct) and head trauma can cause sudden changes/drops in hearing loss.  Talk with your ENT about the utility of knowing more and make an educated decision for your daughter.

I hope this helps you.  I am also going to include a link http://www.betterhearing.org/pdfs/e-Guides/Guide_to_Your_Childs_Hearing.pdf from the Better Hearing Institute.  If that link does not work, go to their site and you can request this guide.

Audiology/Otolaryngology

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Dr. Clint D. Keifer, Audiologist

Expertise

I am qualified to answer all questions related to the diagnosis and rehabilitative treatment of hearing and balance disorders. This includes evaluation of hearing and balance, counseling, amplification (hearing aids and assistive devices), tinnitus (noises in head) evaluation and management, cochlear implants, and audiology in general.

Experience

I started my career as a hearing instrument specialist (on a trainee license) in 1998. After almost 2 years, I decided that I needed to pursue higher education if I was to provide the best care to hearing impaired patients that I could. In 2007, I completed my Doctor of Audiology and have been providing audiological care for almost 5 years. I have vestibular, cochlear implant, and pediatric experience along with prescribing, fitting, and verification of hearing aid amplification as part of comprehensive hearing loss rehabilitation.

Organizations
Audiology doctor and owner at Great Lakes Audiology in Toledo, OH. phone: 419 327-2273 website: www.GLAudiology.com American Academy of Audiology American Speech-Language Hearing Association Ohio Academy of Audiology

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Western Michigan University, Speech Pathology and Audiology Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.), Ohio State University Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A)

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