Children with hearing loss often face vision issues at same time

February 25, 2009

Children who experience sensorineural hearing loss are often found to also have vision issues, according to new research reported in the February issue of of the Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.

For children who experience sensorineural hearing loss, that sensory loss is often accompanied by vision issues, according to new research reported in the February issue of of the Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.

In children with sensorineural hearing loss, 21.7% also had ophthalmologic issues, including refractive conditions (10.2% of children) and nonrefractive issues (12.8%), reported David H. Chi, MD, study author, and colleagues.

Because children with hearing loss depend significantly on other senses, those who have undetected visual difficulties may have negative effects on development, according to the authors. Based on the findings, study authors recommend routine eye exams for children with hearing loss as a preventive measure to help maintain vision.

In this retrospective study, 226 children ages 18 and younger who had sensorineural hearing loss received eye evaluations at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh from 2000 through 2007. Findings showed that 76.9% of children had bilateral sensorineural hearing loss and more than 55 dB of hearing loss.

Genetic testing results were strongly correlated with the coexisting vision and hearing loss in children. Although numerous genes are linked to nonsyndromic sensorineural hearing loss, the GJB2 mutation has been identified in at least 50% of hereditary cases in whites. In this study, of the children with biallelic mutations in GJB2 (18.8%), they had much greater likelihood of visual problems than the 7.6% with a single allele mutation in the gene.

For more information, click here: "Ophthalmologic findings in children with sensorineural hearing loss."