Nav: Home

Victorian child hearing-loss databank to go global

August 30, 2019

A unique Victorian databank that profiles children with hearing loss will help researchers globally understand why some children adapt and thrive, while others struggle.

The Victorian Childhood Hearing Impairment Longitudinal Databank, which has collected information for eight years, is featured in the latest International Journal of Epidemiology.

Its data shows that language development and speech in hearing-impaired children lags behind other children, despite advancements in earlier detection and intervention in the past decade.

The paper's* lead author, Murdoch Children's Research Institute's (MCRI) Dr Valerie Sung, says researchers world-wide can use the databank to answer questions around childhood hearing loss.

"This register can help us understand why some children with a hearing loss do so well, while others experience greater difficulties," she says.

"Universal newborn hearing screening is detecting hearing loss earlier than ever before, usually within a few weeks of birth.

"Children with hearing loss have very early access to hearing aids, early intervention services and for some, cochlear implantation. It was expected that hearing-impaired children would quickly come to enjoy the same language and educational outcomes as their hearing peers.

"However, early clinical diagnosis and intervention does not guarantee equality in health outcomes, with language and related outcomes of children with hearing loss remaining on average well below population means and the children's true cognitive potential.

"Demonstrating the reasons for this inequality has been hampered until now by the lack of population based prospective research."

The Victorian Childhood Hearing Impairment Longitudinal Databank (VicCHILD) is a population-based longitudinal databank open to every child with permanent hearing loss in Victoria.

VicCHILD started in 2012 and stems from 25 years of work by The Royal Children's Hospital and MCRI. At the end 2018, 807 children were enrolled and provided baseline data. By 2020 more than 1000 children will be taking part, making it the largest hearing databank in the world.

VicCHILD collects data at enrolment, two years of age, school entry and late primary /early high school. It involves parent questionnaires, child assessments and taking saliva samples.

Dr Sung, who is also a honorary fellow at the University of Melbourne, says about 600 Australian infants each year are diagnosed with congenital hearing loss within weeks of birth.

"As these children grow, they can face challenges in things that come naturally to others like language and learning. This can impact their quality of life," she says.

"Hearing loss incurs significant burden and medical costs and impacts adversely on educational attainment and employment opportunities.

"This important bank of information could improve interventions and ultimately the lives of children with hearing loss and their families. It will also act as a platform for research trials to understand the effectiveness of different interventions."
-end-
To join the VicCHILD study, for more information or to donate, visit http://www.mcri.edu.au/vicchild or email vic-child@rch.org.au

Researchers from The Royal Children's Hospital and the University of Melbourne also contributed to the databank.

*Publication: Valerie Sung, Libby Smith, Zeffie Poulakis, Rachel Burt, Peter Carew, Sherryn Tobin and Melissa Wake. 'Data Resource Profile: Victorian Childhood Hearing Impairment Longitudinal Databank (VicCHILD)'. International Journal of Epidemiology.

The study was supported by The Royal Children's Hospital Foundation [2014-430]; The Murdoch Children's Research Institute; the Phyllis Connor Memorial Trust; the Deafness Foundation; the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centre of Research Excellence Grant [1023493]; the Kyle Patrick Lamsam Convery Foundation; the Nelson Alexander Charitable Foundation and a Royal Australasian College of Physicians Cottrell Research Establishment Fellowship. Ongoing support from The Royal Children's Hospital Foundation [2018-999] is available until 2022. VS was supported by Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellowship [1125687] and a Melbourne Children's Clinician Scientist Fellowship. MW was supported by NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship 1046518 and by Cure Kids New Zealand. PC was supported by NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Child Language 1023493. RAB was supported by the HEARing CRC, established and supported under the Cooperative Research Centres Program - An Australian Government Initiative. Research at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute is supported by the Victorian Government's Operational Infrastructure Support Program. The researchers were independent of the funders.

Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

Related Hearing Loss Articles:

Victorian child hearing-loss databank to go global
A unique databank that profiles children with hearing loss will help researchers globally understand why some children adapt and thrive, while others struggle.
Hearing loss, dementia risk in population of Taiwan
A population-based study using data from the National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan suggests hearing loss is associated with risk of dementia.
Mice reveal 38 new genes involved in hearing loss
Multiple new genes involved in hearing loss have been revealed in a large study of mouse mutants by researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, King's College London, and colleagues.
New contributor to age-related hearing loss identified
Researchers have discovered a new potential contributor to age-related hearing loss, a finding that could help doctors identify people at risk and better treat the condition.
Exploring the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline
A new study led by investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital adds to a growing body of evidence that hearing loss is associated with higher risk of cognitive decline.
Signs of memory problems could be symptoms of hearing loss instead
Older adults concerned about displaying early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease should also consider a hearing check-up, suggest recent findings.
Hearing loss is a risk factor for premature death
A new study links hearing loss with an increased risk for mortality before the age of 75 due to cardiovascular disease.
Study points to possible new therapy for hearing loss
Researchers have taken an important step toward what may become a new approach to restore the hearing loss.
Are portable music players associated with hearing loss in children?
The effect of portable music players on the hearing of children is unclear.
New study shows hope for hearing loss
USC and Harvard scientists found a new way to fix cells deep inside the ear, which could help millions of people who suffer hearing loss.
More Hearing Loss News and Hearing Loss Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Risk
Why do we revere risk-takers, even when their actions terrify us? Why are some better at taking risks than others? This hour, TED speakers explore the alluring, dangerous, and calculated sides of risk. Guests include professional rock climber Alex Honnold, economist Mariana Mazzucato, psychology researcher Kashfia Rahman, structural engineer and bridge designer Ian Firth, and risk intelligence expert Dylan Evans.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#541 Wayfinding
These days when we want to know where we are or how to get where we want to go, most of us will pull out a smart phone with a built-in GPS and map app. Some of us old timers might still use an old school paper map from time to time. But we didn't always used to lean so heavily on maps and technology, and in some remote places of the world some people still navigate and wayfind their way without the aid of these tools... and in some cases do better without them. This week, host Rachelle Saunders...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss
Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes back up the mountain to visit Dolly's actual Tennessee mountain home, where she tells stories about her first trips out of the holler. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad's first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.