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Between 0.1% and 3% of children have deafness on one side, which is often associated with poor school performance, learning difficulties and behavioral problems. Traditional external hearing aids are effective, but compliance is low among children, particularly outside the classroom, according to background information in the study.
"Thus, treatment options for [single-sided deafness] in children are limited, thereby creating a source of frustration and a need for alternative treatments," wrote Lisa Christensen, of Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, and colleagues.
The researchers reviewed the cases of 23 children and teens, aged 6 to 19, with single-sided deafness who received a bone-anchored hearing aid. After the procedure, the patients showed significant improvements in hearing. The rate of complications, such as skin reactions and lost fixtures, was 17%.
"These findings are helpful in counseling children 5 years and older and their families regarding treatment options for single-sided deafness," the researchers concluded.
The study appears in the February issue of the journal Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.
Christensen is a consultant for Cochlear Americas, which makes bone-anchored hearing aids.
-- Robert Preidt
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