Approximately 1200 babies are born in Canada each year with permanent hearing loss that can have an effect on typical language acquisition and quality of family life. Early identification and new hearing technologies provide many children with a better start in the early years and better opportunities for learning in school. The Audiology Research Lab is involved with research in several aspects of pediatric hearing, with a particular focus on intervention practices and outcomes in children with all degrees of hearing loss. Current areas of interest include early intervention practices, the consequences of mild bilateral and unilateral hearing loss, cochlear implantation outcomes for children including outcomes in “special populations”, and services for children and families affected by hearing loss.
Through our research, our overall goal is to create and transfer knowledge to families, clinicians, teachers, and decision-makers in order to positively impact the lives of children with hearing disorders.
Our interdisciplinary research group includes researchers in audiology, psychology, population health, and medicine. Our lab brings together researchers with shared interests from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the University of Ottawa and encourages collaborations with other institutions. Students are an integral part of our research work. Graduate students from the University of Ottawa Audiology and Speech-Language Program, doctoral students from the PhD program in Rehabilitation Sciences at uOttawa, as well as students from psychology and medicine are actively involved in our research.
Hearing loss prevalence and hearing health among school-aged children in the Canadian Arctic
One in five school-aged children was found to have hearing loss that is likely to affect classroom learning and social/emotional development. A hearing health strategy tailored to this population is critically needed.
Progressive hearing loss in children with mild bilateral hearing loss
One third of the children first diagnosed with mild hearing loss in the better ear now have moderate or worse hearing loss in both ears. These findings point to the importance of careful long-term monitoring of children who present with mild hearing loss.
Pharmacologic and surgical therapies for patients with Meniere’s disease: a protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis
Our planned systematic review will provide informative evaluations of existing treatments for management of Meniere’s disease.
Auditory, social and behavioral skills of children with unilateral/mild hearing loss
Results indicate that these children are functioning in most areas like their peers with typical hearing. Additional research on this population of children who may benefit from early identification and amplification is warranted.
Candidacy for Amplification in Children With Hearing Loss: A Review of Guidelines and Recommendations
There is considerable variation in the guidelines for mild bilateral and unilateral hearing loss with candidacy criteria ranging from 15 to 30 dB HL, and many guidelines recommend a case-by-case decision approach.
A systematic review and network meta-analysis of existing pharmacologic therapies in patients with idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss
This systematic review and network meta-analysis (NMA) assessed the relative effects of competing treatments for management of ISSNHL.
Risk factors for hearing loss in children: A systematic review protocol and meta-analysis protocol
The resulting information will inform the update of a provincial audiological surveillance protocol for the Ontario Infant Hearing Program and will be applicable to early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) programs worldwide.
Service preferences of parents of children with mild bilateral or unilateral hearing loss: A conjoint analysis study
Conjoint analysis was used to quantify parents’ preferences for service attributes. Parents’ values provide insights into the aspects of a service model that should receive consideration in the development of intervention programs for young children with mild bilateral or unilateral hearing loss and their families.
A qualitative study of factors modulating tinnitus experience
On the basis of these findings, an attentional model is proposed to account for how these factors might modulate the effects of tinnitus.
Examining cultural competence in pediatric hearing loss services: A survey
Practitioners also described various strategies used to facilitate culturally competent care. Findings stemming from this study can be used to inform practitioners seeking to provide culturally competent care.
Barriers and facilitators to cultural competence in early hearing loss services: A qualitative analysis
This study contributes insight to a field that has received little attention in early hearing detection and intervention.
Perspectives of parents of minority culture background on pediatric hearing loss services: A qualitative inquiry
For this reason, it is imperative for practitioners to provide culturally competent services informed by empirical evidence. Insights from this study offer a starting point for knowledge translation into clinical practice.
A descriptive study of language and literacy skills of early school-aged children with unilateral and mild to moderate bilateral hearing loss
While scores should be interpreted with caution given the small sample size, findings reinforce the need for additional research on children with mild to moderate bilateral and unilateral hearing loss who benefit from early identification.
The development of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Inventory of Skills in Audition, Language and Speech (CHISALS)
It also describes the construct validity of the CHISALS compared with standardized tests used to evaluate speech and language. In this pilot phase with 10 children, results indicate moderate–to-high correlations with these evaluations as well as with time.
A protocol for a meta-analysis of interventions to treat patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss
This systematic review and NMA will offer new and informative evaluations of current therapies for SSNHL.
Auditory and language outcomes in children with unilateral hearing loss
Even when identified in the first months of life, children with UHL show a tendency to lag behind their normal hearing peers in functional auditory listening and in receptive and expressive language development.
Parent report of amplification use in children with mild bilateral or unilateral hearing loss
As part of the Mild and Unilateral Hearing Loss in Children Study, we collected parent reports on their child’s use of amplification during the preschool years.
Barriers and facilitators to cultural competence in rehabilitation services: a scoping review
Future studies should aim to explore both patient/caregiver and practitioner perspectives as such data can help inform culturally competent practices.
Mild bilateral and unilateral hearing loss in the early school years: Parent’s perspectives on outcomes
From parents’ perspectives, more support during the early school years is needed to help ensure academic success.
School-aged children with mild bilateral and unilateral hearing loss: Parents’ reflections on services, experiences, and outcomes
The goal of the interviews was to gain a deeper understanding of parents hearing loss service experiences and their perspectives of their child’s development and academic functioning.
Vowel intelligibility in children with cochlear implants: An acoustic and articulatory study
Our results show that when cochlear implantation occurs early in life and auditory feedback is available, CI users' intelligibility is comparable to that of their NH peers.
Exploring reasons for late identification of children with early-onset hearing loss
Despite the progress made in the early detection of pediatric hearing loss since UNHS, a substantial number of children referred for early assessment can experience late confirmation and intervention.
Characteristics of children with unilateral hearing loss
Up to 20% of children with permanent HL are first diagnosed with UHL. About 40% are at risk for deterioration in hearing either in the impaired ear and/or in the normal hearing ear.
Amplification decisions for children with mild bilateral and unilateral hearing loss
However, there were considerable differences when bilateral or unilateral thresholds were very mild. Further research is required to understand practice variations and to develop evidence-based guidance for managing these children.
Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute