ASA 128th Meeting - Austin, Texas - 1994 Nov 28 .. Dec 02

3aPP7. Spontaneous remediation of sensorineural hearing loss in an infant girl.

Richard P. Meier

Depts. of Linguist. and Psychol., Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX 78712

Renee A. E. Zakia

Craig A. Champlin

Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX 78712

An infant girl (JD) was assessed as having a mild-to-moderate sensorineural hearing loss in her left ear and a moderate-to-severe sensorineural loss in her right ear, based on results of auditory brain-stem response (ABR) at age 3 months and soundfield testing at 4, 5, and 9 months (Better ear PTA=55 dB HL). JD was fitted with hearing aids binaurally. The one risk factor in her birth history is prenatal polydrug exposure, including cocaine. She had recurrent otitis media, but tympanometry and other evidence weigh against middle ear problems as the cause of her hearing loss. A follow-up ABR at 13 months revealed JD to have normal hearing, a result confirmed by audiometric testing of her unaided hearing thresholds (PTA=10 dB HL). The implication is that, between ages 9 and 13 months, JD's hearing improved to normal levels, possibly as a result of delayed maturation of the peripheral auditory tracts. Early detection of hearing loss may reveal more children like JD who have sensorineural losses that spontaneously remediate with development. Such cases would highlight the need for repeated testing of unaided thresholds in hearing-impaired infants, especially if aggressive intervention is contemplated. [Work supported by NIH and the Texas Advanced Research Program.]