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Early identification of infants and children with disequilibrium

24 months
Approved budget:
Dr Michael Maslin
Professor Suzanne Purdy
Professor Greg O'Beirne
Dr Rebecca Kelly
Dr Justine Bradley
Health issue:
Proposal type:
Explorer Grant
Lay summary
Congenital and early-acquired hearing impairment is a major public health issue that has driven the development of newborn hearing screening programmes worldwide. These programmes enable early identification and support (within 6 months of age) with interventions such as hearing aids. Data from these programmes has highlighted a high prevalence of concurrent vestibular (balance) impairments, present in approximately two-thirds of hearing impaired children and attributable to the colocation of hearing and vestibular sense organs within the inner ear. However, there are no means to identify vestibular impairments early. Whilst technology for an objective vestibular screening assessment exists, its application in young children is unknown. This proposal will explore the feasibility of incorporating such an assessment into the routine hearing aid fitting pathway for children within newborn hearing screening programmes. Such a transformative step towards newborn hearing and balance screening programmes would provide the means for timely and individualised support.