MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lead author, MCRI PhD student
The University of Melbourne
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: The age at diagnosis of a congenital hearing loss has dropped over time. This has allowed for earlier fitting of amplification (hearing aids, cochlear implants) and earlier access to education intervention programs, all intended to lessen the impact of hearing loss on development. Much research has focused on the outcomes achieved by children with severe and profound losses, but relatively little attention has been given to milder hearing losses (mild and moderate). Despite this lack of evidence, we are observing children with mild loss being fitted with hearing aids earlier than ever before. From a historical age of fitting not uncommonly at 2 years of age or older, today the largest number of children under 12 months who receive a hearing aid for the first time in Australia have a mild hearing loss in their better hearing ear. To this end, clinical practice may have jumped ahead of the evidence in terms of understanding any benefits children with mild hearing loss receive from having hearing aids earlier.