Objective: Previous studies report a 38-78% incidence of hearing loss in children with Down syndrome (DS). The purpose of this study was to establish more up to date information about hearing loss in children with DS.
Methods: A 5-year longitudinal study following the otolaryngologic problems seen in children with DS was initiated in February, 1999 at the Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, OH. Aggressive, 'state of the art' treatment, both medical and surgical, was provided to a group of children, (n=48), all of whom were entered into the study at an age under 2 years. Specific interventions and treatments were reviewed in regards to following and treating the children's chronic ear disease. Hearing level results at the end of the first year of the study were evaluated in this publication. This includes both pre-treatment and post-treatment audiologic results.
Results: After treatment of easily reversible hearing loss from chronic otitis media, either with medical or surgical treatment with PET's, 98% of the children had normal hearing levels. Only two children had residual mild hearing losses after treatment interventions.
Conclusion: Aggressive, meticulous and compulsive diagnosis and treatment of chronic ear disease in children with DS, started soon after birth, provides significantly improved hearing levels than reported previously.