Binaural integration: A challenge to overcome for children with hearing loss

Karen A. Gordon, Sharon L. Cushing, Vijayalakshmi Easwar, Melissa J. Polonenko, Blake C. Papsin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of review Access to bilateral hearing can be provided to children with hearing loss by fitting appropriate hearing devices to each affected ear. It is not clear, however, that bilateral input is properly integrated through hearing devices to promote binaural hearing. In the present review, we examine evidence indicating that abnormal binaural hearing continues to be a challenge for children with hearing loss despite early access to bilateral input. Recent findings Behavioral responses and electrophysiological data in children, combined with data from developing animal models, reveal that deafness in early life disrupts binaural hearing and that present hearing devices are unable to reverse these changes and/or promote expected development. Possible limitations of hearing devices include mismatches in binaural place, level, and timing of stimulation. Such mismatches could be common in children with hearing loss. One potential solution is to modify present device fitting beyond providing audibility to each ear by implementing binaural fitting targets. Summary Efforts to better integrate bilateral input could improve spatial hearing in children with hearing loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-519
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We recognize funding received from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and SickKids Foundation. K.A.G., S.L.C., and M.J.P. have been on Cochlear Corp. speaker’s bureau.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • bilateral cochlear implants
  • bimodal devices
  • binaural fusion
  • binaural hearing
  • children
  • deafness
  • hearing AIDS
  • hearing loss
  • single-sided deafness


Dive into the research topics of 'Binaural integration: A challenge to overcome for children with hearing loss'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this