OBJECTIVE: There is a dearth of studies on long term hearing status and behavioural patterns among cleft lip and/or palate children after their primary lip and palate closure in Malaysia. This study describes the audiology status and behavioural patterns in a group of school aged children with cleft lip and/or palate.
METHOD: A cross sectional study was carried out where caretakers of cleft lip and/or palate were asked to complete the translated Malay language version of Strength Difficulties Questionnaire. The hearing status of the children was analyzed based on recent pure tone audiometric and tympanogram results. The patients' age, gender, type of cleft pathology, age of palatal surgery and behavioural patterns were examined for their potential relationship with hearing status.
RESULTS: A total of 74 children (148 ears) aged between 7 and 17 years with cleft lip and/or palate were recruited. The result showed 37 ears (25.0%) had hearing loss with majority suffered from mild conductive hearing loss. There were 16 ears (10.8%) that had persistent middle ear effusion. Hearing improvement occurred when palatal repair was performed at the age of less than 1 year old. (p = 0.015) There was no significant relationship between patients' gender, age, type of cleft and history of myringotomy with their hearing status. In terms of behavioural patterns, 16.3% were abnormal for total behavioural score, 39.2% for peer problem and 17.6% for conduct problem. For prosocial behaviour, 16.3% were rated low and very low. There was fair correlation between age and hyperactivity problems (r = 0.44). Patients' gender, type of cleft pathology, had been teased apart and hearing status was found not related to behavioural problems.
CONCLUSION: Cleft lip and/or palate patients have a good longterm hearing outcome. Majority had normal hearing and if there is hearing impairment, it is only a mild loss. Early palatal repair surgery before the age of 1 year can significantly reduce the risk of hearing loss. Cleft lip and/or palate patients experienced peer problems. There was no significant correlation between behavioural difficulty and hearing status among school-aged children with cleft lip and palate.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.