Exploring the relationship between conductive hearing loss and cleft speech characteristics in children born with cleft palate
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Background Children with cleft palate are at high risk of both conductive hearing loss and cleft speech characteristics (CSCs) yet there is limited research to understand whether hearing loss impacts speech development in this population by contributing to the development of CSCs. Aims This study used data from a large national cohort study in the UK (The Cleft Collective) to explore the relationship between those with a history of diagnosed hearing loss and presence of CSCs in children with cleft palate (+/- cleft lip) aged between 18 to 24 months. Method Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) provided uniformed information from assessment for 123 participants who had been recruited to the Cleft Collective study. History of diagnosed hearing loss, intervention for hearing loss, and presence of CSCs were reported. A consonant inventory for each participant was completed. Statistical analysis of relationships between hearing loss and CSCs and analysis of consonant inventories was undertaken to provide information related to speech acquisition and its relationship with hearing. Results There was a statistically significant relationship between history of diagnosed hearing loss and presence of CSCs (p <0.05). Analysis of the consonant inventories highlighted that children with diagnosed hearing loss used fewer oral consonants compared to those with normal hearing (p <0.05) Conclusion This study provides some evidence that a conductive hearing loss can affect speech in children with cleft palate resulting in CSCs developing. Therefore, children with cleft palate should be closely monitored by audiology from birth to ensure that hearing is optimised for speech and language development. SLT services should also closely monitor the speech development of those children where a hearing loss has been identified, so that early intervention can be provided if appropriate. Continued data collection, with a large sample of children, will provide additional evidence regarding how this hearing loss is best managed. It will also allow increased knowledge of the long term impact of conductive hearing loss on speech development in children with cleft palate.
International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology;
Baker, S., Wren, Y., Zhao, F. and Cooper, F. (2021) 'Exploring the relationship between conductive hearing loss and cleft speech characteristics in children born with cleft palate', International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, p.110820. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijporl.2021.110820
Article published in International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijporl.2021.110820
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Grant ID: Cardiff Metropolian (Internal))
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