OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: Fanconi anemia is a hereditary chromosomal instability disorder. Hearing loss and ear abnormalities are among the many manifestations reported in this disorder. In addition, Fanconi anemia patients often complain about hearing difficulties in situations with background noise (speech perception in noise difficulties). Our study aimed to describe the prevalence of hearing loss and speech perception in noise difficulties in Dutch Fanconi anemia patients.
STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective chart review.
METHODS: A retrospective chart review was conducted at a Dutch tertiary care center. All patients with Fanconi anemia at clinical follow-up in our hospital were included. Medical files were reviewed to collect data on hearing loss and speech perception in noise difficulties.
RESULTS: In total, 49 Fanconi anemia patients were included. Audiograms were available in 29 patients and showed hearing loss in 16 patients (55%). Conductive hearing loss was present in 24.1%, sensorineural in 20.7%, and mixed in 10.3%. A speech in noise test was performed in 17 patients; speech perception in noise was subnormal in nine patients (52.9%) and abnormal in two patients (11.7%).
CONCLUSIONS: Hearing loss and speech perception in noise abnormalities are common in Fanconi anemia. Therefore, pure tone audiograms and speech in noise tests should be performed, preferably already at a young age, because hearing aids or assistive listening devices could be very valuable in developing language and communication skills.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 4. Laryngoscope, 127:2358-2361, 2017.