Hearing screening in children with skeletal dysplasia

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011 Dec;137(12):1236-9. doi: 10.1001/archoto.2011.206.


Objective: To determine the prevalence of hearing loss and abnormal tympanometry in children with skeletal dysplasia.

Design: Clinical screening program.

Setting: National convention of the Little People of America.

Patients: Convenience sample of volunteers aged 18 years or younger with skeletal dysplasias.

Interventions: Hearing screening with behavioral testing and/or otoacoustic emissions, otoscopy, and tympanometry.

Main outcome measures: A failed hearing screen was defined as hearing 35 dB HL (hearing level) or greater at 1 or more tested frequencies or by a "fail" otoacoustic emissions response. Types B and C tympanograms were considered abnormal.

Results: A total of 58 children (aged ≤18 years) with skeletal dysplasia enrolled, and 56 completed hearing screening. Forty-one children had normal hearing (71%); 9 failed in 1 ear (16%); and 6 failed in both ears (10%). Forty-four children had achondroplasia, and 31 had normal hearing in both ears (71%); 8 failed hearing screening in 1 ear (18%), and 3 in both ears (7%). Tympanometry was performed in 45 children, with normal tympanograms found in 21 (47%), bilateral abnormal tympanograms in 15 (33%), and unilateral abnormal tympanograms in 9 (20%). Fourteen children with achondroplasia had normal tympanograms (42%); 11 had bilateral abnormal tympanograms (33%); and 8 had unilateral abnormal tympanograms (24%). For those children without functioning tympanostomy tubes, there was a 9.5 times greater odds of hearing loss if there was abnormal tympanometry (P = .03).

Conclusions: Hearing loss and middle-ear disease are both highly prevalent in children with skeletal dysplasias. Abnormal tympanometry is highly associated with the presence of hearing loss, as expected in children with eustachian tube dysfunction. Hearing screening with medical intervention is recommended for these children.

MeSH terms

  • Achondroplasia / diagnosis
  • Acoustic Impedance Tests*
  • Adolescent
  • Algorithms
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone*
  • Bone Diseases, Developmental / diagnosis*
  • Bone Diseases, Developmental / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dwarfism / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Conductive / diagnosis*
  • Hearing Loss, Conductive / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Otoacoustic Emissions, Spontaneous*
  • Otoscopy*