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MINERVA PEDIATRICA

A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry


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Minerva Pediatrica 2012 April;64(2):213-23

language: Italian

Etiological, clinical and neuroradiological investigation of deaf children with additional neuropsychiatric disabilities

Chilosi A. M. 1, Scusa M. F. 1, Comparini A. 1, Genovese E. 2, Forli F. 3, Berrettini S. 3, Cipriani P. 1

1 Dipartimento di Neuroscienze dello Sviluppo, IRCCS Stella Maris, Calambrone, Pisa, Italia;
2 Clinica ORL, Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italia;
3 Dipartimento di Neuroscienze, Clinica Otorinolaringoiatrica, Università di Pisa, Pisa, Italia


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AIM: Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is complicated by additional disabilities in about 30% of cases, but the epidemiology of associated disorders, in terms of type, frequency and aetiology is still not clearly defined. Additional disabilities in a deaf child have important consequences in assessing and choosing a therapeutic treatment, in particular when considering cochlear implantation (CI) or hearing aids (HA). The aim of this paper was to evaluate frequency, type and severity of additional neurodevelopmental disabilities in children with profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss and to investigate the relationship between disability and the etiology of deafness.
METHODS: Eighty children with profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss (mean age 5.4 years) were investigated by means of a diagnostic protocol including clinical, neurodevelopmental, and audiological procedures together with genetic and neurometabolic tests and neuroradiological investigation by brain MRI.
RESULTS:Fifty-five percent of the sample exhibited one or more disabilities in addition to deafness, with cognitive, behavioural-emotional and motor disorders being the most frequent. The risk of additional disabilities varied according to aetiology, with a higher incidence in hereditary syndromic deafness, in cases due to pre-perinatal pathology (in comparison to unknown and hereditary non syndromic forms) and in the presence of major brain abnormalities at MRI.
CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that the aetiology of deafness may be a significant risk indicator for the presence of neuropsychiatric disorders. A multidimensional evaluation, including aetiological, neurodevelopmental and MRI investigation is needed for formulating prognosis and for planning therapeutic intervention, expecially in those children candidated to cochlear implant.

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achilosi@inpe.unipi.it