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November 19, 2012

Too few hearing screenings of infants in rural China

Newborn-hearing screening has been successfully implemented in Chinese cities, but not in rural areas.

Too few hearing screenings of infants in rural China

A study aims to provide guidance in the implementation of hearing screening in the rural areas of China.

11,568 babies born in five counties of Hubei Province of China were screened. The hearing screening followed a two-stage strategy with transient evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs). Infants tested after the second-stage screening, were tested by diagnostic auditory brainstem response (ABR).

The screening included 10,665 (92%) normal newborns and 903 (8%) newborns with high-risk of hearing loss. While 8190 (71%) newborns passed the initial screening, 135 newborns failed in the re-screening, and 90 (67%) of these 135 newborns received diagnostic assessment.

In the end, 58 infants were diagnosed with a hearing loss, and the prevalence of congenital hearing loss among newborns in rural areas was 0.5% (58 out of 11,568).

Promote hearing screening

This large-scale newborn-hearing screening in rural areas of Hubei Province of China demonstrated that the screening rate and referral rate for high-risk infants is low in rural areas in China.

The researchers suggest that urgent measures should be taken by the government to promote newborn hearing screening in the rural areas.

The study was carried out by the Department of Otolaryngology, Tongji Hospital, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.


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