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Clin Pediatr (Phila). 1995 Mar;34(3):138-45.

Failure to clinically predict NICU hearing loss.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston 02114, USA.


Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) survivors demonstrate handicapping sensorineural hearing loss up to 50 times more frequently than normal newborns, yet little is known about the etiology of the hearing loss. Theoretically, accurate identification and triage of a particular infant based on a clinical profile would be useful. Forty NICU graduates of The Massachusetts General Hospital were selected for a detailed retrospective chart review evaluating prenatal, perinatal, and NICU medical conditions and treatment. Twenty-three patients identified with hearing loss and 17 infants with normal hearing were compared clinically. Univariate and multivariate analysis was performed on a subpopulation of patients (20 with hearing loss and 16 with normal hearing). A history of ventilation was associated with hearing loss (P = .0023), but this factor was not absolute. No other clinical parameters were convincingly linked to hearing loss. We conclude that reliance on risk factors is an inadequate clinical method to select a patient for a hearing test and that each NICU survivor deserves audiometric evaluation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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