Objective To evaluate the treatments’ consequences for unilateral hearing loss in children.
Design Systematic review and meta-analysis (CRD42018109417). The MEDLINE, CENTRAL, ISRCTN and ClinicalTrials databases were searched between September 2018 and May 2019. Articles were screened and data were collected independently by two authors following the Cochrane and Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic review and Meta-Analysis guidelines. The risk of bias was evaluated using the Cochrane tool, the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale, the National Institute of Health, USA tool and considering the risk of confounding. In the studies with the lowest risk of bias, a meta-analysis was conducted.
Interventions Validated hearing rehabilitation devices.
Patients 6–15 years old children with moderate to profound unilateral hearing loss.
Main outcome measures The primary study outcome was children’s quality of life. Academic performances were studied as an additional outcome.
Results 731 unique articles were identified from the primary search. Of these, 18 articles met the Population, Intervention, Control, Outcomes and Study design selection criteria. In the eight studies with the lowest risk of bias, two meta-analysis were conducted. There was not enough data on academic results to conduct a meta-analysis. In 73 children included in a fixed effect meta-analysis (two studies), no effect of treatment could be shown (g=−0.20, p=0.39). In 61 children included in a random-effect meta-analysis (six studies), a strong positive effect of hearing treatment on quality of life was demonstrated (g=1.32, p<0.05).
Conclusions The treatment of unilateral hearing loss seems to improve children’s quality of life. Further research is needed to identify the most effective treatment and its corresponding indications.
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