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Auditory Neuropathy in Romanian Hearing Impaired Children (Abstract)

Simona Serban, Bogdan Mocanu,
Institute of Phonoaudiology and ENT Functional Surgery, Bucharest, Romania



Aim: The goal of the study was to establish the prevalence of auditory neuropathy in a group of children with confirmed hearing impairment ranging from borderline normal hearing to profound hearing loss. This is the first report on the incidence of auditory neuropathy amongst hearing impaired children in Romania.

Material and method: In a retrospective study design involving hearing impaired children attending our clinic, subjects were examined for signs of auditory neuropathy. Sixty-one children with confirmed hearing impairment, aged between 4 to 30 months, tested over a period of 18 months were enrolled. The objective hearing assessment protocol included auditory brainstem responses, auditory steady-state responses and otoacoustic emissions.

Results: Eleven percent (7/61) of the children examined presented with signs of auditory neuropathy. The mean diagnostic age was 16.5 months. The identified subjects presented with variable degrees of hearing loss ranging from borderline normal hearing to profound hearing loss. The risk factors normally associated with this condition were encountered in four of the cases. Genetic disorder with recessive transmission was also considered a possible cause in three cases.

Conclusions: Our data showed a relatively high incidence rate (11%) of auditory neuropathy amongst the children who have not been previously screened for hearing impairment. Pediatric auditory neuropathy cases are likely to increase further with implementation of universal neonatal hearing screening. Auditory neuropathy is a hearing disorder with a variable audiological presentation and as such the therapeutic management of affected patients needs an individual approach and consideration by a clinical team.

Key words: hearing disorder, objective assessment protocol, auditory neuropathy, prevalence


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