No AccessAmerican Journal of AudiologyResearch Article1 Jun 2010

Quality of Life in Children With Unilateral Hearing Loss: A Pilot Study

    Purpose

    The objective of this pilot study was to investigate the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of children with unilateral hearing loss (UHL).

    Method

    The study was conducted in 2 stages among children age 6–17 years. In Stage 1, the authors conducted focus groups of children with UHL and their parents to elicit perceptions of how UHL affected the lives of these children. In Stage 2, a generic pediatric quality of life survey was used to measure HRQOL quantitatively in children with normal hearing, UHL, and bilateral hearing loss. Participants were recruited from the clinical and research populations of an academic otolaryngology department.

    Results

    The focus groups revealed that the children with UHL experienced barriers due to their hearing loss but learned to adapt. Quantitatively, statistically significant differences between groups were not observed on the 3 main HRQOL scales (Total, Psychosocial, and Physical). Children with UHL had a significantly larger variance on the social functioning score than children with normal hearing and bilateral hearing loss.

    Conclusions

    UHL may affect the HRQOL of children; this possibility should be included when counseling parents. However, further research is warranted to determine whether the authors' findings are generalizable to other children with UHL.

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