Archived Webinar: Hearing and Balance: Impact and Outcomes of Dual Sensory Impairments in the Pediatric Population With Sharon Cushing – Aired October 20, 2020

DATE: Tuesday October 20 -7 PM ET

SPEAKER: Sharon L. Cushing MD MSc, FRCSC, Otolaryngologist, Hospital for Sick Children


Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in children occurs in 1-3% of live births and acquired hearing loss can additionally occur. This sensory deficit has far-reaching consequences that have been shown to extend beyond speech and language development. Thankfully there are many therapeutic options that exist for these children with the aim of decreasing the morbidity of their hearing impairment. Of late, focus has shifted beyond speech and language outcomes to the overall performance of children with SNHL in real world environments. To account for their residual deficits in such environments, clinicians must understand the extent of their sensory impairments.

Increasingly, SNHL is considered to commonly co-exist with other sensory deficits such as vestibular loss. It is known that vestibular impairment is exceedingly common in children with SNHL with nearly half of children exhibiting vestibular end-organ dysfunction. These deficits naturally lead to impairments in balance and delay in motor milestones. However, this additional sensory deficit likely leads to further impairment in the performance of these children. Attendees of this webinar will come away with a better understanding of the sensory contributions that impact outcomes in the children we care for with hearing loss.

Learning Points:

  1. Defining the co-existence of vestibular impairment in children with SNHL and cochlear implants (CI)
  2. Describing screening methods aimed at identifying vestibular dysfunction in children with SNHL
  3. Understanding the functional implications of this dual sensory impairment
  4. Exploring possible rehabilitative strategies to minimize the impact of vestibular impairment in children with SNHL

SPEAKER BIO:  Sharon L. Cushing MD MSc, FRCSC, Otolaryngologist, Hospital for Sick Children

Dr. Sharon Cushing is a full time paediatric otolaryngologist at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, and an Associate Professor and Clinician Investigator in the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Toronto. She is the Director of the Cochlear Implant Program at the Hospital for Sick Children. Dr. Cushing has a clinical and surgical interest in disorders of the external, middle and inner ear, including hearing loss and vestibular dysfunction. Her research interest include vestibular and balance function and dysfunction in children, and its association with hearing loss and cochlear implantation.

Dr. Cushing completed her undergraduate degree at Queen’s University in Kingston, followed by Medical School and Residency training in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Toronto. In addition, Dr. Cushing completed a Master’s in Science degree examining vestibular function and balance in children with hearing loss through the Surgeon Scientist Program at the University of Toronto. She completed her fellowship training in Paediatric Otolaryngology at Seattle Children’s Hospital prior to returning to Sick Kids in Toronto.