Maturation of middle ear transmission in children

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The goal of the current study was to characterize the normative features of wideband acoustic immittance in children for describing the functional maturation of the middle ear in 5 to 12-year-old children. Absorbance and group delay were measured in adults and three groups of children, 5–6, 7–9 and 10–12-year-olds, in a cross-sectional design. Absorbance showed significant effects of the age group in four out of ten center frequencies of one-half-octave bins from 211 to 6000 Hz, while there was no significant effect for group delay at any frequency. Older children (10–12 years) showed absorbance similar to adults. Test-retest reliability was high for absorbance for all age groups. However, group delay was modestly reliable only for adults. We conclude that the middle ear transmission follows a protracted period of maturation for high frequencies and reaches adult-like feature by 10–12 years of age.

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