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Pediatrics. 1988 Aug;82(2):147-54.

Hearing disorders in children with fetal alcohol syndrome: findings from case reports.

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Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI.


Fourteen children with the fetal alcohol syndrome were evaluated by standard audiologic procedures. Thirteen of the 14 children had childhood histories of hearing disorders. All 13 of these children (93%) had clinically significant histories of bilateral recurrent serous otitis media (ie, they were otitis prone), and at least four children (29%) had bilateral sensorineural hearing losses in addition to being otitis prone. Many of the children with recurrent serous otitis media required repeated myringotomies with placement of ventilation tubes, and those with sensorineural hearing losses required sound amplification during childhood. Recurrent respiratory infections (secondary to immune deficiencies) and eustachian tube dysfunction (secondary to embryonic malformations of the first and second branchial arches) are discussed as possible etiologic factors in the presence of the recurrent serous otitis media. An alcohol-induced neuroectoderm syndrome and alcohol ototoxicity are discussed as possible etiologic factors in the occurrence of sensorineural hearing loss. The findings suggest that hearing disorders are a heretofore unrecognized characteristic of the fetal alcohol syndrome. Such hearing disorders may contribute to the speech and language and learning difficulties seen in children with fetal alcohol syndrome. The present study also provided confirmatory evidence of visual, health, and speech and language disorders in children with this syndrome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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