A cohort of 164 children born within the defined boundaries of greater Manchester during the years 1981 to 1984 inclusive were identified as having bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, giving a prevalence of 1.2/1000 population of 1/817 births. Ninety three children developed an additional conductive hearing loss secondary to otitis media with effusion lasting more than three months and 39 of these (42%) required surgical treatment. Those with congenital infections, adverse perinatal factors, and chromosomal abnormalities seemed to develop more conductive hearing problems than those in whom the aetiology was infective. Close audiology follow up is essential for effective treatment of children with sensorineural hearing loss.
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