Introducing the Patient: Oscar
Oscar is a 2-year-old child born with a unilateral cleft palate. He was diagnosed with chronic otitis media with effusion and conductive hearing loss due to liquid accumulation in his right ear. The findings of the visual reinforcement audiometry indicate 41-55 dB HL hearing loss. Oscar’s speech recognition score is good, with speech threshold testing of 80% showing slight difficulties. Reduced consonant use was noticed in Oscar’s meaningful word production (anterior and posterior errors). He is the only child, and Oscar’s parents reported no history of hearing loss intervention.
Oscar’s Hearing Loss Within the Context of the Article
The article illustrates that Oscar’s otitis media presenting with excess liquid accumulating in the right middle ear can be attributed to his cleft palate. Thus, Oscar’s conductive hearing loss in the right ear results from him developing otitis media due to being born with a cleft palate. According to Baker et al. (2021), 54% of children with cleft palate are diagnosed with conductive hearing loss and require various interventions. Nevertheless, Oscar’s parents indicated that as hearing loss was moderate and only presented in one ear, they did not think it was necessary. Overall, the article helps understand how cleft palate contributed to Oscar developing otitis media and consequent conductive hearing loss.
Oscar’s Speech Difficulties Within the Context of the Article
Oscar’s speech errors can be attributed to his cleft palate and conductive hearing loss in the right ear. According to Baker et al. (2021), children with cleft palate and the consequent loss of hearing due to excess liquid in the middle ear use fewer consonants in their speech. It is argued that hearing loss affects the vocabulary acquisition of children with a cleft palate (Baker et al., 2021). In addition, Oscar’s difficulties in pronouncing alveolar consonants, as Baker et al. (2021) note that hearing loss hinders alveolar sound production. Thus, the article elucidates Oscar’s choice of words, and his parents should be explained that his pronunciation is affected by hearing loss and lack of intervention.
Recommendations for Oscar
In summary, the discussed article helps understand Oscar’s case better and explains his conductive hearing loss and speech production difficulties. Specifically, it explains why Oscar uses fewer consonants in meaningful words compared to the average threshold for his age and his errors in pronunciation. As it was indicated that Oscar received no hearing loss intervention to date, it is recommended to consider the use of grommets for him as the hearing loss is not severe. Alternatively, another hearing aid can be considered to help him hear in his right ear and ensure normal hearing in both ears. The use of grommets or a hearing aid can also help prevent further speech difficulties and address the existing limited use of consonants.
Baker, S., Wren, Y., Zhao, F., & Cooper, F. (2021). Exploring the relationship between conductive hearing loss and cleft speech characteristics in children born with cleft palate. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 148, 1−9. Web.