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Laryngoscope. 2013 Sep;123(9):2270-5. doi: 10.1002/lary.24055. Epub 2013 Mar 11.

Impact of unilateral conductive hearing loss due to aural atresia on academic performance in children.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.A.



This study evaluates the effect of unilateral conductive hearing loss secondary to aural atresia on elementary school children's academic performance.


Case control survey and review of audiometric data.


One hundred thirty-two surveys were mailed to families of children with aural atresia, and 48 surveys were sent to families of children with unilateral sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) to identify rates of grade retention, use of any resource, and behavioral problems. Audiometric data of the cohort were tabulated.


Of the 40 atresia patients, none repeated a grade, but 65% needed some resources: 12.5% currently use a hearing aid, 32.5% use(d) a frequency-modulated system in school, 47.5% had an Individualized Education Plan, and 45% utilized speech therapy. Compared to the unilateral SNHL group and a cohort of children with unilateral SNHL in an earlier study, children with unilateral atresia were less likely to repeat a grade. Children in both unilateral atresia and SNHL groups were more likely to utilize some resource in the academic setting compared to the unilateral SNHL children in the prior study.


Unilateral conductive hearing loss due to aural atresia has an impact on academic performance in children, although not as profound when compared to children with unilateral SNHL. The majority of these children with unilateral atresia utilize resources in the school setting. Parents, educators, and health care professionals should be aware of the impact of unilateral conductive hearing loss and offer appropriate habilitative services.


Aural atresia; academic performance; conductive hearing loss in children; pediatric otology; sensorineural hearing loss in children

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