Showing posts with label hearing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hearing. Show all posts

Monday, June 22, 2015

Lend Me Your Ears: Binaural Hearing In Developing Children

By: Joann Schulte  DO, MPH; Editorial Board Member 


      Listen up, if you only have one functioning ear you can’t localize sounds like an ambulance wailing behind you or follow the conversation in noisy restaurants.
      For children, it’s harder because the sounds they have to hear and understand are in an environment where sounds are always booming, fading and coming from different directions. That’s the reality of a complex learning environment that includes playgrounds, busy school hallways and crowded classrooms.  Children have a more dynamic environment because there are more motions and changes in people’s locations.
      Gordon et al (doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-3520) explore the issues of asymmetric hearing in a state of the art review published in Pediatrics this month. You already know that a child who doesn’t hear stops babbling and doesn't develop language unless appropriate early intervention is required.  That’s the whole point of newborn hearing screening programs that now are mandated in 43 states and the District of Columbia.  Children whose hearing loss is recognized by six months of age and enrolled in a treatment program are more likely to experience emotional and social development that are in synch with their physical development.
Gordon et al. explore what can be done to help children who don’t have binaural hearing.   
      They explore devices, including cochlear implants and hearing aids, which can be used to help children.  Such efforts are important because a recent cohort study indicated that children with unilateral hearing loss had mean lower vocabulary and IQ scores compared to their counter parts who could hear with both ears.
Clearly it is not just a matter of listening up.  It’s a matter of doing what is state of the art to create  two good ears even if only one is initially functioning well.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sounding Off on Infant Sleep Machines

Have parents told you that they have installed infant “sleep machines” in their baby’s room, devices that essentially provide ambient noise to mask other room sounds that can disturb a baby’s sleep? Have you ever wondered if there were any risks to using these devices?

Photo by Geralt via Pixabay
Hugh et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-3617) did wonder, and decided to measure the sound levels of these machines when played at maximum volume placed 30,100 and 200 centimeters from the baby’s crib. The results will make some noise when you read them in regard to potential damage to an infant’s ears that can occur when the device is close to the crib at maximum volume.

Currently there are no rules or recommendations of how loud is too loud for these machines—but after reading this study, perhaps you will want to offer some suggestions to families who insist that these sleep devices are the only thing that allows their baby to sleep through the night. The cost of a sound sleep at the expense of hearing loss may not be worth the risk. Hear more about this study and these machines by checking out this interesting article being early released this week.

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