Boys Town Hearing Study Gets Nearly $9M Grant

25 03 2009

OMAHA, Neb. — Researchers at the Boys Town National Research Hospital are working to heal childhood hearing loss thanks to a multi-million-dollar grant.


Experts said that about 2 percent of children suffer from some type of hearing loss.


Leslie McCaslin takes her 16-month-old, Ava, to the hospital to see if the doctors there can help.



Ava has been wearing hearing aids since she was four-months-old.


Ava is full of energy but she’s also partially deaf. She suffers from bi-lateral mild to moderate hearing loss and has worn hearing aids since she was 4 months old.


“She can still hear, but she may have difficulties with some of the finer parts of language,” McCaslin said.


The doctors at Boys Town said their nearly $9 million grant should help children like Ava.


Mary Pat Moeller, PhD./Boys Town National Research Hospital


“There’s been a lot of research on children who are profoundly deaf and sign language. There’s been a lot less emphasis on children with mild and moderate degrees of hearing loss,” Dr. Mary Pat Moeller said.


The study will take place in a room where children can play and interact in a natural environment while the researchers observe behind a two-sided mirror.


“We’re able to let moms and babies play in a natural way and observe the infants development while they’re playing comfortably with their mother,” Moeller said.


Researchers will follow 400 children for three years and examine their academic, language and social outcomes.


Leslie McCaslin/Ava’s Mother


“Even just a couple of years ago, our children probably wouldn’t have had these advantages — I don’t think the technology or the knowledge was there,” McCaslin said. “Anything that we can do to contribute to those advances, we’re willing to do.”


The hospital is conducting the study in partnership with institutions in Iowa and North Carolina.


Anyone who would like more information is asked to call 402-498-6511.




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