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Clin Otolaryngol Allied Sci. 2004 Feb;29(1):10-7.

Evaluation of hearing thresholds in 3-month-old children with a cleft palate: the basis for a selective policy for ventilation tube insertion at time of palate repair.

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Department of Paediatric Otorhinolaryngology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, NHS Trust, London, UK.


Hearing thresholds in children with a cleft palate prior to cleft palate repair are not widely documented, and audiological criteria for short-term ventilation tube insertion do not exist. The aims of this prospective study are to estimate hearing thresholds in 40 children with a cleft palate by 3-month developmental age with auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) under natural sleep and to estimate a hearing threshold guideline for short-term ventilation tube insertion. Our results show a wide range of air conduction hearing thresholds using click ABRs (2-4 Hz), which ranged from 25 to 102 dBnHL in the left ear and from 25 to 80 dBnHL in the right ear with means of 53 and 49 and standard deviations of 17 and 13 respectively. The bone conduction thresholds ranged from 0 to 55 dBnHL with a mean of 26 and a standard deviation of 13. Eighty-three per cent of children had flat, type B, on high-frequency tympanograms, indicative of middle ear effusion. Thirty per cent of the infants had a cleft palate associated with a known syndrome. Currently, it is the authors' practice to use short-term ventilation tubes on a selective basis at the time of cleft palate repair when there is a conductive hearing loss of more than 55 dBnHL in the better ear as determined by ABR with type B high-frequency tympanograms. This threshold level takes into account electrophysiological and auditory pathway maturation discrepancies. With this as the guideline, between 28% and 35% of the children in this study would be eligible for surgery. This criterion still requires further validation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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