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June 06, 2013

Hearing screenings for newborns not enough

Some infants suffer from a sudden hearing loss even though they have passed the universal neonatal hearing screening for newborns (UNHS).

Hearing screenings for newborns not enough

Babies who pass their newborn hearing test may develop a sensorineural sudden hearing loss (SSNHL) at a later stage, a report from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center shows.
The study showed that 78 out of 314 children, that is around 25%, had passed the newborn hearing screening and yet developed SSNHL later on.

Hearing screenings for newborns perhaps inadequate

According to Dr. David Chi, lead author of the study, this finding "raises the question of whether further screenings would identify hearing loss in children after passing the UNHS".

The research group suggests that many parents and physicians could be misled by a passed UNHS and ignore symptoms of a hearing loss.

"A parent or a physician may think, ”?Oh, this child had passed the screening, so they must not have hearing loss'. Don't depend just on the fact that (your child) passed the screening, especially if there are any concerns about hearing loss or speech concerns," Chi said.

About the research

Chi and his team went through the medical records of 923 children between the ages between four and five. These kids had developed SSNHL and thus visited the Medical Center between 2001 and 2011. 

Among the children who had initially passed the hearing screening for newborns, the hearing loss was most commonly identified by parents or failed school hearing screenings at a later stage.
The hearing loss was classified as profound in 26 cases (33%) and as severe in 11 cases (14%), whereas 25 cases (32%) were categorised as a mild hearing loss and 16 cases (21%) as moderate hearing loss.

Sources:www.news-medical.net and www.reuters.com

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