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Pediatrics. 2003 May;111(5 Pt 2):1202-6.

Epidemiology of early hearing loss detection in Hawaii.

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  • 1Hawaii Department of Health, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.



Universal Newborn Hearing Screening began in 2 Honolulu hospitals in 1992, and by 1999, all 14 civilian birthing facilities in Hawaii were providing screening. Examination of 1998 Hawaii data indicated that approximately 13% of infants who did not pass initial hearing screening in the hospital did not return for the indicated follow-up. The purpose of this study was to determine the epidemiologic profile of infants who were born in 1999 and did not return for follow-up.


A population-based, cohort study of the hearing screening completion rates among the 13 civilian birthing facilities in Hawaii that provided data to the Department of Health was conducted. Analysis included a bivariate analysis of the demographic characteristics of infants who completed the screening/follow-up process compared with those who did not and logistic regression modeling to ascertain the demographic profile of infants at high risk for being lost to follow-up.


Of 12 456 infants, hearing screening data could be linked to the birth certificate file, and a final disposition regarding completion of the screening/follow-up process was determined for 10 328 (83%). Less than 2% (n = 176) of the linked infants failed to complete the screening/follow-up procedures. Low birth weight and white infants and infants born to women who had not completed high school were approximately twice as likely not to complete the screening as were their normal birth weight or nonwhite counterparts.


Failure to complete the hearing screening follow-up may be related to cultural differences that have been previously reported in other maternal and child health studies of the diverse populations in Hawaii. The results of this study will allow the Hawaii Newborn Hearing Screening Program to target its efforts and limited resources toward infants who are at higher risk of not completing the screening and who may need special attention to encourage their mothers to complete the screening process, and to move quickly with rescreening infants whose initial tests are positive so that infants are not lost to follow-up.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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