The prevalence of hearing impairment in high-risk infants in Kuwait

  • Aseel Al-Meqbel Mail Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Health Sciences Center, Kuwait University, Sulaibikat, Kuwait
  • Hamad Al-Baghli Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, IBN SINA Hospital, Kuwait, Kuwait
Transient evoked otoacoustic emission, auditory brainstem responses, risk factors, hyperbilirubinemia, severe prematurity, sensorineural hearing loss


Background and aims: This is a pilot study investigated the prevalence of hearing impairment and the impact of the known risk factors for hearing loss on infants at risk born in Kuwait.
Methods: Two hundred infants with risk of hearing impairment who met the Joint Committee on Infants Hearing (1990) criteria were screened. All newborns were included in this study if they had hospital stay for more than 48 hours and at least with one of the known risk factors of hearing loss. At time of discharge from the hospital, they were referred for hearing screening at Ibn Sina Hospital, Clinical Neurophysiological Department. The hearing screening protocol included high frequency tympanometry, transient evoked otoacoustic emission (TEOAE) and auditory brainstem responses (ABR).
Results: Of 200 infants, 11.5% had sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). There was no significant relationship between hearing loss and gender, but there was a significant statistical relationship (p≤0.05) between hearing loss and prematurity. Of 23 infants with SNHL, positive history of hearing loss occurred in five families, SNHL detected in four of the 19 cases with hyperbilirubinemia (17.4%), 2 of the 15 cases with severe perinatal asphyxia (p≤0.05), one of the 2 cases with a meconium aspiration syndrome (p ≤ 0.05), and a single case with gentamycin ototoxicity.
Conclusion: The prevalence of hearing impairment in high-risk infants was 11.5%. About 43.48% severe prematurity (gestational age ≤ 30 weeks) was a main risk factor of hearing loss. This finding should guide healthcare providers when adapting their protocols.


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How to Cite
Al-Meqbel A, Al-Baghli H. The prevalence of hearing impairment in high-risk infants in Kuwait. Aud Vestib Res. 24(1):11-16.
Research Article(s)