The International Tinnitus Journal

The International Tinnitus Journal

Official Journal of the Neurootological and Equilibriometric Society
Official Journal of the Brazil Federal District Otorhinolaryngologist Society

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ISSN: 0946-5448

Abstract

Hyperacusis in Children: A Preliminary Study on the Effects of Hypersensitivity to Sound on Speech and Language

Author(s): Massimo Ralli, Antonio Greco, Giancarlo Altissimi, Natalia Tagliaferri, Laura Carchiolo, Rosaria Turchetta, Massimo Fusconi, Antonella Polimeni, Giancarlo Cianfrone, Marco de Vincentiis,

There is a growing awareness that children may experience hyperacusis, a condition that is often associated with behavioral and developmental disorders. This preliminary study was aimed to investigate the effects of hyperacusis alone on various components of speech and language in children without developmental disorders. This study was conducted on 109 children aged between 4 and 7 years attending kindergarten and primary school. Hyperacusis was assessed through behavioral observation of children and questionnaires for parents. Different components of speech and language were assessed through specific tests. Hyperacusis was diagnosed in fifteen children (13.8%); ten (66.7%) were attending primary school and five (33.3%) kindergarten. A significant difference between children with and without hyperacusis was found for tests evaluating the average number of words in a sentence and phonemic fluency; older children appeared to have more difficulties. Several differences in education profiles were found: parents of children with hyperacusis spent less time with their children compared to parents of children without hyperacusis. Our preliminary results suggest some difficulties in lexical access and the use of shorter sentences by children with hypersensitivity to sound; however, the small size of our sample and the largely unknown interactions between hyperacusis and developmental disorders suggest caution when interpreting these results. Further studies on larger samples are necessary to gain additional knowledge on the effects of hyperacusis on speech and language in children without developmental disorders.

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