Engström, Kallioinen, Nakeva von Mentzer, Lindgren, Sahlén, Lyxell, Ors & Uhlén (2021): Auditory event-related potentials and mismatch negativity in children with hearing loss using hearing aids or cochlear implants – A three-year follow-up study
I: International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. Online first. Open Access
Elisabet Engström, Petter Kallioinen, Cecilia Nakeva von Mentzer, Magnus Lindgren, Birgitta Sahlén, Björn Lyxell, Marianne Ors & Inger Uhlén
The primary aim was to examine how event-related potentials (ERPs) and mismatch negativity (MMN) change and develop over time among children with hearing loss (HL) using hearing aids (HAs) or cochlear implants (CIs). Children with normal hearing (NH) were tested as a reference group.
This three-year follow-up study included 13 children with sensorineural HL (SNHL); 7 children using bilateral HAs and 6 children using CIs; and 10 children with NH as a reference group. ERPs were recorded at baseline and after three years. At time for the original study the children were approximately 5–8 years old and at the follow-up study 8–11 years old. ERP recordings and data processing were identical in both sessions. A standard stimulus alternated with five different deviants (gap, intensity, pitch, location and duration), presented in a pseudorandom sequence, thus following the multi-feature paradigm, Optimum-1. MMN was calculated from the average ERP of each deviant minus the standard stimuli. Repeated measures ANOVA was used for the statistical analyses and the results were based on samples within a specific time interval; 80–224 ms.
There was a statistically significant difference in the obligatory responses between the NH and HA groups at baseline, but this difference disappeared after three years in our follow-up study. The children with HA also showed a significant difference in mean ERP at baseline compared to follow-up, and significant differences between the deviants at follow-up but not at baseline. This suggests an improvement over time among the children with HAs. On the other hand, the children with CIs did not differ from the NH children at baseline, but after three years their mean ERP was significantly lower compared to both the children with HA and NH, indicating a reduced development of the central auditory system in this age span among the children with CIs. Regarding MMN, there was an interaction between the duration deviant and time for the children with HA, also indicating a possible improvement over time among the HA children.
This three-year follow-up study shows neurophysiological differences between children with HL and children with NH. The results suggest a delay in the central auditory processing among the HA children compared to children with NH, but a possible catch-up, over time, and this potential may be worth to be utilized. Regarding the CI children, similar improvement in this age span is missing, meaning there are differences between the subgroups of children with HL, i.e. the children with HAs vs. CIs. The results highlight the importance of distinguishing between subgroups of children with HL in further research.