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Ear Hear. 2017 Jan/Feb;38(1):e49-e56.

Comparison of the Motor Performance and Vestibular Function in Infants with a Congenital Cytomegalovirus Infection or a Connexin 26 Mutation: A Preliminary Study.

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1Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; 2Faculty of Science, Department of Biomedical Physics, Antwerp University, Antwerp, Belgium; 3Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; 4Department of Oto-rhino-laryngology, University Hospital Ghent, Ghent, Belgium; 5Rehabilitation Center "Sint-Lievenspoort," Ghent, Belgium; and 6Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.



Hearing-impaired children are at risk for vestibular damage and delayed motor development. Two major causes of congenital hearing loss are cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and connexin (Cx) 26 mutations. Comparison of the motor performance and vestibular function between these specific groups is still underexplored. The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of congenital (c)CMV and Cx26 on the motor performance and vestibular function in 6 months old infants.


Forty children (mean age 6.7 months; range 4.8 to 8.9 months) participated in this cross-sectional design and were recruited from the Flemish CMV registry. They were divided into five age-matched groups: normal-hearing control, asymptomatic cCMV, normal-hearing symptomatic cCMV, hearing-impaired symptomatic cCMV, and hearing-impaired Cx26. Children were examined with the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales-2 and cervical vestibular-evoked myogenic potential (cVEMP) test.


Symptomatic hearing-impaired cCMV children demonstrated a significantly lower gross motor performance compared with the control group (p = 0.005), the asymptomatic cCMV group (p = 0.034), and the Cx26 group (0.016). In this symptomatic hearing-impaired cCMV group, 4 out of 8 children had absent cVEMP responses that were related to the weakest gross motor performance. The Cx26 children showed no significant delay in motor development compared with the control children and none of these children had absent cVEMP responses.


The weakest gross motor performance was found in symptomatic hearing-impaired cCMV-infected children with absent cVEMP responses. These results suggest that abnormal saccular responses are a major factor for this delayed motor development, although more work is needed including comprehensive vestibular function testing to verify this.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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