The study aimed to understand how quickly and to what extent permanent hearing loss worsened in Australian children and what factors affected this progression.
The researchers analysed data from 12,925 children and found that, on average, 25% of children with permanent hearing loss experienced worsening by a clinically significant amount in at least one ear over a period of 7.5 years. By 17.5 years after their initial diagnosis, 50% of the children had experienced hearing loss progression.
The study discovered that the chances of a child’s hearing loss worsening were significantly linked to factors such as the cause of hearing loss, how similar the hearing loss was between the ears, and whether they lived in a major city or not. Hearing loss progressed to severe or profound degrees of hearing loss in only 15% of the children. The study found no negative impact of hearing aid use on the progression of hearing loss.