Bone conduction hearing device adherence in relationship to age in pediatric unilateral congenital aural atresia

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2021 Feb;141:110564. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2020.110564. Epub 2020 Dec 15.


Objective: To characterize the adherence of bone conduction hearing devices (BCHDs) for hearing management in children with unilateral congenital aural atresia (UCAA) in relation to the age of offer and fitting. BCHD Soft Bands help predict amplification benefits before surgery can be performed beginning around five years when both hearing and parental compliance reach stability. We hypothesized device compliance might decrease with age of fitting from lack of early acclimatization.

Methods: Retrospective case series of patients less than five years old at a tertiary pediatric center's microtia clinic database, born between 2014 and 2018 with UCAA. Adherence was assessed through electronic health record note documentation at less than 1 year, 1-2 years, and greater than 2 years from fitting. The ages at offer and fitting, along with the time from offer to fitting, were recorded.

Results: One hundred and eight patients with UCAA were identified, including 46 patients fit with a BCHD used for further analysis. Adherence rates at 1 year, 1-2 years, and greater than 2 years were 47.8%, 30%, and 43.5%, respectively. However, there was no significant association between age offered, age fit, or time from offer to fit and adherence at all time points. Also, there was no significant difference between ages at the time of BCHD offer for those who chose not to proceed with fitting (20.9 months) compared to the age of offer in patients that were subsequently fit (13.9 months).

Conclusion: BCHD adherence in patients less than five years old may not be affected by the age offered or fit. The time between offer and fitting was also not associated with usage. BCHDs should be offered to UCAA patients regardless of age. Further investigation in this younger age group would help expand these findings.

Keywords: Bone conduction hearing device (BCHD); Conductive/rehabilitation; Congenital aural atresia (CAA); Hearing loss; Microtia.