Review by L Flood
I expected to struggle through this book, but was encouraged by the publisher’s website, which did admit that this is ‘an incredibly complex topic’ and that ‘the literature that is available can be overwhelming and difficult to read as a quick reference’. Well, that struck a chord with this reviewer, but the promise was to provide practical content for daily clinical use.
Further encouragement came from chapter titles, such as the opening ‘Functional Consequences of Hearing Loss; What’s Down Can Come Up!’ or the closing ‘Questions with no Answers in Pediatric Sensorineural Hearing Loss’. The latter title was so irresistible that my reading started on page 217. I was not disappointed. Despite a substantial multi-author contribution, there is a uniformity of style, with some very memorable tips and messages. In this last chapter, there is discussion of central auditory processing disorder and auditory neuropathy that is understandable and fascinating (not something easily achieved). This reviewer will long recall the playground being described as the ‘child’s cocktail party’ (you will have to read the book). Who appreciated the prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss in adolescents, or the relationship between hearing loss and global developmental delay?
Hooked by now (and I admit pleasantly surprised), I went back to read from the start. Again, memorable phrases such as ‘we hear with our brain, not our ears’ summarise the message, but are so memorable for clinical use. A short but ‘punchy’ chapter is clever in addressing the limitations of newborn hearing screening. Audiometric evaluation is throughout pitched at a level that a simple surgeon can follow. A chapter on imaging has all the nice images of malformations we would expect, but, again, it is the text that is novel in addressing their clinical value. The content is then summarised in a nice overview chapter, containing a single algorithm on investigation of a new diagnosis, which alone justifies the textbook. The chapter on genetic hearing impairment is presented in a style that is comprehensive, informative and even readable (and that is quite a challenge to meet). ‘Infectious Etiology’ is sufficiently updated to include Zika virus, and, amongst no fewer than 208 references, several are from 2017.
Management tends to concentrate more on amplification than cochlear or brainstem implants, which I had expected to dominate the book. This book is then really different. It is a paediatric audiology textbook that is targeted beyond paediatric audiologists. It is easy to read from beginning to end (unless you follow my example) and is not just a quick reference to dip into. It deals with a topic that is often overlooked in surgical training, but which frequently arises in those final examinations. It is far too good for trainees alone, and I would recommend this to the most senior expert clinician who has any contact with hearing-impaired children.
Amazon Link: Pediatric Sensorineural Heating Loss: Clinical Diagnosis and Management
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