Visual and hearing impairments
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Hi Vicki, our daughter who is 14 months has unilateral hearing loss.


  • LottieLottie Member Posts: 4
    Hi Vicki, our daughter who is 14 months has unilateral hearing loss. She failed her new born hearing screen and subsequent tests in her right ear. We are under an Aetiologist and so far have completed hearing tests, blood tests and family history questions to find a cause. My daughter is due to have an MRI under general anaesthetic next month. We are terrified at the prospect and do you know if any outcomes from it could help her hearing improve or help prevent further complications? If so then obviously it'd be necessarry. The Aetiologist was very pro having it done but I can't help wondering whether the risks of general anaesthetic and the stress of the experience for us and her outweigh the necessity for an MRI at this stage.
  • LottieLottie Member Posts: 4
    ...thanks, Lottie
  • VickiKirwinVickiKirwin Member Posts: 69 Courageous
    Hi Lottie. Unilateral hearing loss is often caused by an abnormality of the inner ear, for example the cochlea or hearing nerve could be underdeveloped or absent. Therefore, one of the investigations offered is a scan to look at the structure of the inner ear and hearing nerve. If an abnormality is found and the other ear looks normal then it can be reassuring to know that the hearing in the better ear is unlikely to deteriorate or be affected by the same thing. But if the scan shows the inner ear has developed normally then the scan won't tell us why it isn't working as well as it should. So the scan could reassure you, but it could tell you nothing. In either case the results are unlikely to affect how you are managing your daughters hearing loss at the moment so it's probably OK to wait until you all feel more comfortable having it done. MRI scans are safe and there are no known side effects but as you say there are risks associated with anaesthetic, and the risks of having an anaesthetic reduce as children get older. There are a few situations when doctors would recommend an MRI scan is done as soon as possible - when a child has had meningitis, is being assessed for a cochlear implant, if their hearing is getting changing and getting worse, or if there are any characteristic features that may suggest a child's hearing loss could be part of a syndrome. In these examples, the doctor will want to look closely at the structure of the inner ear to be able to give advice on possible management or treatment options. If these aren't applicable to your daughter then have a chat with your doctor and find out why they want to do it so early. Lots of parents choose to wait if the results aren't going to change what's happening for their child at the moment and you can think about it again when she's a bit older. A couple of booklets from NDCS that you might find helpful are 'Understanding your child's hearing tests' (which includes a section on these investigations) and 'Unilateral deafness' which can both be ordered free from our Helpline 0808 800 8880 or downloaded from the website Vicki
  • LottieLottie Member Posts: 4
    Thank you so much for your reply. It is really helpful to have information from someone else to help us make a more informed decision. I really, really appreciate it. Thanks also for the further reading link. Will get onto those ASAP. Lottie
  • VickiKirwinVickiKirwin Member Posts: 69 Courageous
    New resource that might be of interest to some readers >> "Supporting the achievement of hearing impaired children in special schools" will be useful for anyone who works in a special school. It helps improve outcomes and progress for deaf children and covers:

    - identifying hearing loss in a child
    - understanding hearing loss and how it impacts on a child’s ability to access teaching and learning,
    - ensuring the effective use of hearing equipment,
    - creating a good listening and learning environment,
    - knowing how to communicate effectively with a deaf child,
    - adapting teaching and learning strategies to ensure the curriculum is accessible.

    Free to download here:
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