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March 12, 2010

Temporary Hearing Loss in Children May Lead to "Lazy Ear"


Researchers at Vanderbilt and Harvard University have determined that short-term hearing deprivation during childhood may lead to persistent hearing deficits, long after hearing is restored to normal. Their research published in the March 11 issue of Neuron revealed that in rats, a "lazy ear" can develop when balanced auditory signals are not transmitted from each ear to the brain during a critical period for auditory cortex development.

In humans, "an analogous problem may exist ... in that children commonly experience a buildup of viscous fluid in the middle ear cavity, called otitis media with effusion, which can degrade the quality of acoustic signals reaching the brain and has been associated with long-lasting loss of auditory perceptual acuity," explains senior study author, Dr. Daniel Polley from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

The most common procedure to treat this condition in children is ear tube placement.

Read more here. The title of their research is "Monaural Deprivation Disrupts Development of Binaural Selectivity in Auditory Midbrain and Cortex."
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. Google+ Christopher Chang, MD Bio

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