Background: Hearing impairment in neonates is a hidden disability, which is usually detected around 2 years of age. Crucial speech and language development begins during first six months of life. Undetected hearing loss present from an early age can impede acquisition of speech language, communication, cognitive and social-emotional development of a child. Across the globe, there is an evolving consensus that all infants should be screened for hearing impairment and appropriate interventions should be instituted in those found to have the problem by six months of age. Most developed countries have introduced mandatory screening and interventional programme with strategies appropriate for their public health concerns. Unfortunately, in developing countries, due to the paucity of resources, infant hearing screening programme has not been introduced as national programme. There have been very few large scale hearing screening studies done in India, to know the feasibility of universal hearing screening or high risk neonate hearing screening. The present study is taken to fill in the lacune in this aspect.
Aims & Objective: To study the feasibility of using two staged Transient Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions (TEOAE) followed by confirmation with Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) in hearing screening of newborns along with an attempt to identify additional risk factors, other than those included in “High Risk Registry (HRR)” given by Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH) in 2007.
Material and Methods: A prospective observational study of hearing impairment screening was conducted on 800 newborns, who were screened with two staged Transient Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions TEOAE, using handheld TEOAE device, followed by confirmation with Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR). The study was done in Command Hospital Air Force, Bangalore, during Jan 2010 to May 2011, where in all new born, born during the study period were screened, which included 757 healthy neonates and remaining 43 high risk neonates as per HRR of JCIH 2007. Additional risk factors that could affect the hearing in the normal neonates was also studied.
Results: At the end of the two TEOAE tests, 15 (1.8%) neonates of the 800 cohort screened were suspected of hearing impairment and referred for ABR test. Sensorineural hearing loss was confirmed by ABR in 5 (0.6%) of those 15 referred, with a 1.2% false positive rate at the end of 2nd TEOAE. 2 of the hearing impaired infants belonged to “at risk group” neonates with remaining 3 not having any risk factor as per “High Risk Registry (HRR)” of Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH). This study showed the presence of medical conditions like maternal Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) or maternal Diabetes Mellitus (DM) and Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH) along with the well-known risk factors of HRR in the infants with hearing loss. But a strong association between these maternal conditions and hearing
Neonate: Universal Hearing Screening; Joint Committee on Infant Hearing; Transient Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions