The value of ASSR threshold-based bilateral hearing aid fitting in children with difficult or unreliable behavioral audiometry | Ear, Nose & Throat Journal Skip to content Skip to navigation

The value of ASSR threshold-based bilateral hearing aid fitting in children with difficult or unreliable behavioral audiometry

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December 12, 2017
by Petros V. Vlastarakos, MD, MSc, PhD; Alexandra Vasileiou, MD; Thomas P. Nikolopoulos, MD, DM, PhD

Abstract

We conducted an analysis to assess the relative contribution of auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing and auditory steady-state response (ASSR) testing in providing appropriate hearing aid fitting in hearing-impaired children with difficult or unreliable behavioral audiometry. Of 150 infants and children who had been referred to us for hearing assessment as part of a neonatal hearing screening and cochlear implantation program, we identified 5 who exhibited significant discrepancies between click-ABR and ASSR testing results and difficult or unreliable behavioral audiometry. Hearing aid fitting in pediatric cochlear implant candidates for a trial period of 3 to 6 months is a common practice in many implant programs, but monitoring the progress of the amplified infants and providing appropriate hearing aid fitting can be challenging. If we accept the premise that we can assess the linguistic progress of amplified infants with an acceptable degree of certainty, the auditory behavior that we are monitoring presupposes appropriate bilateral hearing aid fitting. This may become very challenging in young children, or even in older children with difficult or unreliable behavioral audiometry results. This challenge can be addressed by using data from both ABR and ASSR testing. Fitting attempts that employ data from only ABR testing provide amplification that involves the range of spoken language but is not frequency-specific. Hearing aid fitting should also incorporate and take into account ASSR data because reliance on ABR testing alone might compromise the validity of the monitoring process. In conclusion, we believe that ASSR threshold-based bilateral hearing aid fitting is necessary to provide frequency-specific amplification of hearing and appropriate propulsion in the prelinguistic vocalizations of monitored infants.

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