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Pediatr Clin North Am. 1999 Feb;46(1):65-78.

Minimal, progressive, and fluctuating hearing losses in children. Characteristics, identification, and management.

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Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.


Referring to specific types of hearing loss as "minimal" or "mild" seems to imply that their effects are equally mild or negligible. A growing body of literature, however, supports the notion that such losses can have a significant impact on the communicative and educational development of young children. Although OME is considered a common childhood ailment, mounting evidence suggests that it is not always benign and may contribute to significant educational and communicative difficulties in some young children when accompanied by conductive hearing loss. Even very mild bilateral and unilateral SNHL seems to contribute to problems in the areas of social and emotional function, educational achievement, and communication in some children. Because these hearing losses are so mild, they may not be immediately recognized as the source of such difficulties. The purpose of this report is to heighten the general pediatrician's awareness of the significance of even very mild or minimal hearing losses in children. As the gatekeepers for children's health care, pediatricians are typically the primary recipients of parental expressions of concern and the initiators of evaluations or referrals to address such.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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