Disparities in access to pediatric hearing health care

Matthew L. Bush, Michael R. Kaufman, Beth N. McNulty

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Purpose of review There are significant disparities in care facing children with hearing loss. The objective of this review is to assess the current disparities in pediatric hearing healthcare delivery, describe the barriers of efficient and effective pediatric hearing health care, and explore the innovations to improve pediatric hearing healthcare delivery. Recent findings Children with hearing loss from certain geographic regions or ethnic background are significantly delayed in diagnosis and treatment. Multiple patient characteristics (presentation of hearing loss), parental factors (insurance status, socioeconomic status, educational status, and travel distance to providers), and provider barriers (specialist shortage and primary care provider challenges) prevent the delivery of timely hearing health care. Advances, such as improved screening programs and the expansion of care through remote services, may help to ameliorate these disparities. Summary Timely identification and treatment of pediatric hearing loss is critical to prevent lifelong language complications. Children from vulnerable populations, such as rural residents, face significant disparities in care. Careful assessment of these barriers and implementation of culturally acceptable interventions are paramount to maximize communication outcomes of children with hearing loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-364
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017

Bibliographical note

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


  • access to care
  • cochlear implant
  • hearing aid
  • pediatric hearing loss
  • rural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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