Tinnitus Week

Tinnitus Week takes place from 5-11 February 2018 and is an international awareness initiative led by a group of organisations, including the British Tinnitus Association, American Tinnitus Association, Tinnitus Hub and the Tinnitus Research Initiative.


The aim of the week is to raise awareness of the condition, which affects approximately 1 in 10 of the population. The British Tinnitus Association campaign for the week will focus on children and young people.

The ‘Kids Talk Tinnitus’ campaign will engage with children, parents and schools to raise awareness of tinnitus amongst young people and drive the use of relevant support and resources. These can be found at www.tinnitus.org.uk/Pages/Category/tinnitus-in-children.

A new website has been set up, as a central resource collecting all the initiatives which will be taking place in 2018. This website can be found at www.tinnitusweek.com.

Find out more about Tinnitus Week  here.


Majority of UK parents are unaware children can have tinnitus

A survey by the British Tinnitus Association (BTA)  found just under a third of UK parents (32%) think children under the age of 10 can have tinnitus; and just 37% think it can affect children aged 10 to 16

Research commissioned by the BTA has revealed the worrying statistic, which the charity says reinforces the misconception that the hearing condition only affects older people.

The research also revealed many parents are unaware of the common signs of the hearing condition in children, such as anxiety or difficulty concentrating.
To help tackle the problem, the charity has created guidance for both parents and teachers:

  • Tinnitus: A Parents Guide:
    Includes the signs and symptoms to look out for, as well as advice on the best places to get help and support if parents suspect their child has tinnitus
  • Tinnitus: A Teachers Guide:
    Provides practical steps for use in the classroom.

Full BTA Press release here

Children with cochlear implant learn words faster than hearing children

Researchers have found that deaf children with a cochlear implant learn words even faster than those with normal hearing | Scientific Reports | via ScienceDaily


A current study at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences has revealed that when deaf children get their cochlear implants, they learn words faster than those with normal hearing. Consequently, they build up certain word pools faster.

The reason for this finding could be that children with cochlear implants are older when they are first exposed to spoken language. Those with normal hearing learn aspects of language, such as the rhythm and melody of their mother tongue, from birth and even in the womb. In deaf children, this only starts at the time of their cochlear replacement, at the age of around one to four years. By this time certain brain structures necessary for language acquisition are already well developed.

Full story at ScienceDaily

Full reference: Vavatzanidis, N. K. et al. | Establishing a mental lexicon with cochlear implants: an ERP study with young children |Scientific Reports, 2018; 8 (1)


Early Hearing Detection and Vocabulary of Children With Hearing Loss.

The primary purpose of the current study was to examine the impact of the current EHDI 1-3-6 policy on vocabulary outcomes across a wide geographic area | Pediatrics

Background: To date, no studies have examined vocabulary outcomes of children meeting all 3 components of the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) guidelines (hearing screening by 1 month, diagnosis of hearing loss by 3 months, and intervention by 6 months of age). A secondary goal was to confirm the impact of other demographic variables previously reported to be related to language outcomes.

Results: The combination of 6 factors in a regression analysis accounted for 41% of the variance in vocabulary outcomes. Vocabulary quotients were significantly higher for children who met the EHDI guidelines, were younger, had no additional disabilities, had mild to moderate hearing loss, had parents who were deaf or hard of hearing, and had mothers with higher levels of education.

Conclusions: Vocabulary learning may be enhanced with system improvements that increase the number of children meeting the current early identification and intervention guidelines. In addition, intervention efforts need to focus on preventing widening delays with chronological age, assisting mothers with lower levels of education, and incorporating adults who are deaf/hard-of-hearing in the intervention process.

Yoshinaga-Itano, C. et al. (2017) Early Hearing Detection and Vocabulary of Children With Hearing Loss. Pediatrics. Vol. 140 (no. 2) e20162964


Hearing aids for otitis media with effusion: Do children use them?

This study investigated what proportion of children referred for hearing aids actually receive them, and whether children use them | International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology

Image source: Kristof Borkowski – Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

ENT surgeons may refer children with otitis media with effusion (OME) to audiology for consideration of hearing aids. They are an option for the treatment of OME, but are only effective if the child actually wears them.

During the study period, there were 202 referrals of children to audiology, of which 70 (34.7%) were for consideration of hearing aids for OME. Of these 70 referred children, 37 (52.9%) were not fitted with hearing aids due to normal audiometry (23), asymptomatic mild hearing loss (7), nonattendance (3), clinical decision to just monitor hearing (1), parental decline (2), and unrecorded reason (1). A total of 38 children (including direct access patients) were fitted with hearing aids for OME. Majority (36/38) of children issued aids used them, 16 all day, 7 only at school, 1 only at home, 3 only when needed, and 9 used them for an unspecified duration; 1 child’s use of hearing aids was unrecorded, and 1 child refused to use it. 21 were fitted bilaterally and 17 unilaterally. 37 were behind the ear aids and 1 a BAHA softband.

A third of referrals to paediatric audiology by ENT are for consideration of hearing aids for OME. Only about half of children referred to audiology for hearing aids for OME actually receive them, as by the time they see audiology the hearing loss has frequently resolved or is asymptomatic so that aiding is unwarranted. Once fitted, they appear to be well accepted. Hearing aids have fair utilization in children fitted with them for OME.

Full reference: Gan, R.W.C. et al. (2017) Hearing aids for otitis media with effusion: Do children use them? International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. Vol. 99 (August) pp. 117–119.


Bilateral congenital cholesteatoma: Surgical treatment and considerations.

A multicenter study regarding surgical management of bilateral congenital cholesteatoma (BCC) and underline the importance of endoscopes in the management of this condition | International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology

In BCC, hearing preservation is more crucial than in unilateral cases. The endoscopic approach allows complete removal of cholesteatoma via a minimally invasive technique offering low residual disease rates while preserving the normal physiology of the middle ear and possibly the ossicular chain.

From 2002 to November 2016, six patients were identified with bilateral congenital cholesteatoma and included in this study. Pre-operative assessments, surgical treatments and outcomes were collected and described.

The median age at presentation was 4 years (range 2-7 years). A microscopic post auricular tympanoplasty was performed in two ears, four underwent a canal wall up mastoidectomy procedure and in the other six a transcanal endoscopic approach (TEA) was used. No intra- or post-operative complications were observed in any patients. The mean follow up period was 54.5 months.

When both ears are involved with congenital cholesteatoma, it is particularly important to use a minimally invasive technique that preserves normal ossicular and mastoid structure and function whenever possible. In many cases this can be achieved with TEA, even in young children. In addition the endoscope allows good surgical control of cholesteatoma removal from hidden recesses.

Full reference: Marchioni, D. et al. (2017) Bilateral congenital cholesteatoma: Surgical treatment and considerations. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. Vol. 99. (no. 08) pp. 146–151


Ear Care for the Most Vulnerable Infants

Each year, approximately 6,000 newborns-of the nearly 4 million births in the U.S.-are diagnosed with permanent hearing loss, and premature infants are 50 percent more likely than full-term infants to develop hearing loss | ASHA Leader

Infants’ experiences in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are highly variable, depending on the complexity of their cases and degree of prematurity. Those with more severe or chronic medical and neurodevelopmental conditions present particular challenges to the audiology team.

Complications of their conditions can delay hearing screening, and the medical equipment helping to support them may interfere with the screening itself. The NICU environment can also be noisy for this vulnerable population. Yet another challenge is the emotional fragility of these infants’ parents.

Although audiology isn’t part of the primary NICU care team, every infant receives a hearing screen, and any infant with a failed screen receives diagnostic audiological testing. This means the hearing-screening staff and audiology team play an important role, particularly after a baby does not pass the hearing screening. Audiologists can also play a key role in the development, implementation and oversight of the newborn hearing program (see more on newborn hearing screening on the ASHA Practice Portal: on.asha. org/newborn-screening). In these cases, the audiologist serves as the primary source of hearing-related information for the parents and the medical team.

To address the particular challenges of the NICU population, audiologists need to communicate and work closely with the NICU staff as soon as it’s appropriate, consider the effects of medical equipment, communicate with parents with a great deal of sensitivity, and work at coordinating discharge planning and follow-up care with the infant’s parents and other providers.

Full reference: McGrath, A. P., & Vohr, B. R. (2017). Ear care for the most vulnerable infants. ASHA Leader, 22(8), 20-22.