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Arch Dis Child. 1999 Nov;81(5):380-9.

Confirmation of deafness in infancy.

Author information

  • 1Audiology Department, Whipps Cross Hospital, Leytonstone, London E11 1NR, UK.

Abstract

AIM:

To assess delay in confirming hearing impairment in infants identified by universal neonatal screening and to investigate the causes.

PATIENTS:

Infants identified from 25 199 babies screened from January 1992 to December 1997.

METHODS:

A two stage transient evoked oto-acoustic emission test (TEOAE), with a threshold auditory brainstem response (ABR) recording undertaken on those who failed. The screen identified infants with a permanent congenital hearing impairment (PCHI) averaging 40 dBnHL or worse in the best ear. Those with less impairment were also ascertained. The positive predictive value (PPV) of the ABR test and measures of delay between identification and eventual diagnosis were analysed.

RESULTS:

A targeted PCHI was found in 1.18/1000 neonates. The PPV of the ABR for confirming a targeted PCHI was 100% when the ABR threshold was >/= 80 dBnHL. Nine of 11 infants with this threshold had severe or profound permanent deafness. The delay from ABR to audiological certainty was about 1 month-diagnosis was confirmed around 3 months. There was uncertainty when the ABR was 40-80 dBnHL. The PPV was 60% and 8% when the ABR thresholds were 70 dBnHL and 50 dBnHL, respectively. 85 of 111 infants with ABR thresholds in this range had a temporary conductive impairment. Their early diagnosis depended upon the type and degree of hearing impairment and diagnosis was delayed to about 8 months in these infants.

CONCLUSIONS:

Hearing impairments identified by universal screening are delayed in all but those with severe or profound bilateral PCHI. This delay can be reduced by applying in early infancy a battery of audiological tests and requires further exploration.

PMID:
10519708
PMCID:
PMC1718132
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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