Can a cleft palate influence hearing disorders? Will the hearing improve after the operation?
How many children with cleft defects suffer from disorders of that type and should a child wear a hearing aid?
Apart from genetic conditions the development of facial bones is influenced by harmonious interaction of all muscle structures, which function has an effect on all the growing bones and functional systems connected with the particular bone. The muscles of the auditory tube function as a part of the muscles complex of the velopharyngeal sphincter. Therefore it is not surprising that the child with cleft velopharyngeal sphincter functional disorder, might have problems with the functioning of the middle ear. That is why it is obvious to us that the earlier we will recreate the functioning balance of all the systems the better. First big scientific research, conducted in 1998 by the Ph.D. Thesis of Ewa Nowakowska-Szerwińska, M.D., who has worked in my team, have shown that hearing disorders are present in cleft children, but they, in most cases, recede after the surgical treatment, which means that a child with cleft defect should be under constant observation of a team of doctors responsible for the treatment. There are also opinions that the problem of ventilation of the middle ear is more complex because of a different position of the auditory tube in the period of infancy, which changes together with the development of the young man and is also applicable to the children without cleft defects.
To sum up:
We think that most important is as early as possible recreation of normality in all the functioning systems, and after that the treatment or only observation. It is not necessary in such a young age to wear hearing aids, because usually everything comes back to normal after the operation of the palate reconstruction.