Prevalence and Effects
from Seminars in Hearing
Permanent unilateral hearing loss (UHL) of any degree and mild bilateral hearing loss (MBHL) are common conditions of childhood. When left undetected and in the absence of intervention, both UHL and MBHL can adversely affect development and can result in difficulties in speech, language, behavior, and academic achievement for some children. This article describes the prevalence of UHL and MBHL among newborns and school-aged children, the definitions of UHL and MBHL, and provides an overview of the effects of these hearing losses on children’s development. The article concludes that some children with UHL and MBHL are more at risk for problems than are others. Important questions for future research studies to ask are what subgroups of children with UHL and MBHL are likely to have difficulties with speech, language, reading, academic performance, and behavior; how do we identify these children; and what kinds of interventions are most appropriate for them?