Fitting babies with hearing aids: progress means new challenges

Permanent hearing loss in infants is common and its impact on the child is vast. We now provide hearing instruments to infants at a few months of age, but there is an urgent need for procedures that will guide the appropriateness of the prescription and when to expedite trials of alternative devices such as cochlear implants.

Previous studies have demonstrated that cortical auditory evoked potentials (CAEPs) can be successfully recorded in infants who wear hearing instruments. CAEPs have the real potential to tailor treatment to the individual and improve quality of life. Before embarking on a large scale trial, we are undertaking an essential underpinning study, on 100 normal hearing infants and ten infants with hearing loss, to answer questions related to the natural changes that occur in the brain in response to sound as the infant grows, the ability to consistently detect a CAEP, as well as investigating the feasibility and acceptability of making these measurements in the clinical setting. This project is a collaboration between The University of Manchester and Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust. It is funded by a CMFT strategic research grant. The investigators include Rachel Booth, Iain Bruce, Martin O’Driscoll, Kevin J Munro, Ruth Nassar andKai Uus.


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