Published by Thieme Medical Publishers
Mild and Unilateral Hearing Loss in Children
28 May 2008 (online)
In July 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program and the Marion Downs Hearing Center cosponsored the National Workshop on Mild and Unilateral Hearing Loss. The main goal of this 2-day workshop was to review current information, facilitate discussion, and develop recommendations related to the identification of and appropriate intervention for children with mild or unilateral hearing loss.
The workshop was planned by a 10-member steering committee, which included representatives from the Marion Downs Hearing Center, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders at the National Institutes of Health, the Massachusetts Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program, the National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center, the EHDI program, independent experts in the field of hearing loss, and the parent of a child with hearing loss. More than 50 national and international experts, including researchers, clinical practitioners, early interventionists, parents, and representatives from national organizations and state and federal agencies, participated in the workshop.
The main objectives of this workshop were to
Review and evaluate the scientific research and other data related to mild and unilateral hearing loss. Establish recommendations related to identification. Establish recommendations related to appropriate intervention(s). Identify potential areas for future research.
The workshop began with plenary presentations by researchers and clinicians addressing current scientific evidence related to the key issues of (1) prevalence and screening; (2) diagnosis, amplification, and outcomes; and (3) early intervention, eligibility, and clinical practice. These presentations established the context for the workshop agenda.
For the remainder of the workshop, participants joined one of four facilitated break-out groups to discuss the following topics: screening for hearing loss, diagnostic evaluation and follow-up, hearing technology, and early intervention. Participants within each group were asked to identify issues, barriers, and areas for future research and to develop realistic short-term and long-term recommendations. At the end of the workshop, facilitators of each break-out group summarized the discussions of their respective groups for all participants.
The National Workshop on Mild and Unilateral Hearing Loss was an important step in defining key issues related to mild and unilateral hearing loss. A proceedings document from the workshop, including a list of participants, is available online at www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/ehdi/unilateralhi.htm. The purpose of this issue of Seminars in Hearing is to provide readers with current evidence and information related to identification and appropriate intervention for children with mild or unilateral hearing loss. Additionally, the preliminary discussions of the short-term and long-term recommendations developed by the workshop break-out groups provided the basis for the proposals provided in the last article. These proposals are intended to help policymakers, EHDI program staff, physicians, audiologists, parents, and other interested parties identify and provide appropriate intervention services for children with mild or unilateral hearing loss.
This issue of Seminars in Hearing begins to address recommendations for the management of children with mild or unilateral hearing loss in a practical and defensible manner. These recommendations are a work in progress, and as the field of audiology gains experience in managing all levels of hearing loss in infants, new procedures and new perspectives will emerge.
The discussions summarized in this Journal do not represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Marion Downs Hearing Center and should not be construed to represent any agency determination or policy. The views of participants expressed in this publication have not been officially endorsed by any agency or organization.
We express our gratitude to those who participated in the National Workshop on Mild and Unilateral Hearing Loss and acknowledge and thank the authors who submitted their work for this publication. We also express our thanks to Krista Biernath, M.D., Danielle Ross, Ph.D., and Marcus Gaffney, M.P.H., for their valuable assistance with the preparation of this issue.