The impact of hearing loss on speech outcomes in 5-year-old children with Cleft Palate ± Lip: A longitudinal cohort study

Elizabeth Anne Fitzpatrick, Channa Panagamuwa, Leora Moss Levy, Tanya Rihtman

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4 Citations (Scopus)
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Objectives: To investigate the impact of hearing loss (using longitudinal measurements of hearing) on speech outcomes at age 5 (5 years 0 months–5 years 11 months) in children born with cleft palate ± lip. Other variables which may impact upon the speech outcomes at age 5 in this population were also investigated. Methods: A retrospective longitudinal cohort study of children, without a named syndrome, born with cleft palate ± lip, and treated at a Cleft Centre in the United Kingdom. Data collected from infancy to 5 years 11 months, included hearing test results from three specific time points (7 months–1 year 2 months [age A]; 2 years 0 months–2 years 11 months [age B]; 5 years 0 months–5 years 11 months [age C]) and speech outcome data at age 5 years (5 years 0 months–5 years 11 months). Hearing test results at each age were compared to identify how hearing changes with age. Correlations between hearing test results and speech outcomes at age 5 were analysed. Results: Hearing loss was frequent but predominantly mild. There were no significant correlations between speech outcomes and hearing results at any age. Mild hearing loss remained prevalent at age 5, although a significant age-related hearing improvement was found. A significant relationship between cleft type and cleft speech characteristics was found (P < .001); children with Bilateral Cleft Lip and Palate achieved the poorest articulation outcomes. Conclusion: Although mild hearing loss was common in the cohort, there was no association between hearing loss and the speech outcomes investigated. In contrast, the type of cleft was significantly associated with the presence of cleft speech characteristics. Further longitudinal measurement of hearing is required to substantiate the findings of this study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110870
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Early online date5 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

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NIHR funded MRes


  • cleft palate
  • cleft lip and palate
  • hearing
  • OME
  • speech
  • nasality
  • cleft speech characteristics
  • Cleft palate
  • Cleft speech characteristics
  • Hearing
  • Speech
  • Nasality
  • Cleft lip and palate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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