Presenter Information:
Presenter 1: Name: Vincent Schmithorst
Vincent Schmithorst received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Cincinnati and subsequently did his post-doctoral work at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center using functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate normal language development in children and diffusion tensor imaging to investigate white matter development in children. He is currently investigating the neuroanatomical bases underlying various auditory pathologies, including neuroanatomical compensation for unilateral sensorineural hearing loss and auditory processing disorders using technologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging and magnetoencephalography.
Author Information:
Author 1: Name: Vincent Schmithorst
Affiliation: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Author 2: Name: Susan Wiley
Affiliation: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Abstract Information:
Title: Neuroanatomical Differences in Children with Unilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss as Determined by Functional MRI
Primary Track: 3-Early Intervention
Keyword(s): unilateral hearing loss; functional magnetic resonance imaging; speech-in-noise


Children with severe-to-profound unilateral sensorineural hearing loss (USNHL) have shown deficits in a variety of areas such as central auditory processing, including interpretation of speech-in-noise, sound localization, and academic performance, compared to children with normal hearing. However, little is known as yet about the neurobiological underpinnings of these deficits. Ten children ages 8-11 with severe-to-profound USNHL were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Tasks included listening to narrow-band noise (NBN), and interpretation of speech-in-noise (SIN) at varying difficulty levels. A control group of children with normal hearing also performed the tasks (monaural presentation of NBN, binaural presentation of SIN). Children with USNHL had significant differences on brain activation patterns compared to hearing controls. For the NBN task, there were networks activated only by the control subjects: the auditory cortex (the right medial temporal/anterior superior temporal gyrus); and attentional areas (the inferior frontal gyrus/insula bilaterally). Controls only also de-activated a visual network (middle occipital gyrus), possibly related to “cross-modal plasticity” (recruitment of visual areas for auditory processing) in the USNHL children. Controls only also displayed an additional visual network (cuneus/precuneus) which was activated if the stimulus was presented to the left ear, but deactivated if the stimulus was presented to the right ear, indicating elimination of lateralized functional pathways in children with USNHL. For the SIN task, children with USNHL increasingly activated an attentional network (anterior and posterior cingulate gyri) and an auditory network (left anterior superior temporal gyrus/temporal pole), indicating recruitment of additional cortical resources (“auditory fatigue”). Although this study is in older children, the impact of cortical reorganization of the brain in children with UHL may have relevance to strategies for early intervention. Knowledge about the cortical bases underlying these deficits could be of great use in evaluation, designing, and tailoring of management strategies.
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