The prevalence of hearing loss in infants hospitalized in the neonatal intensive care units
Background and Aim: Studies have shown that several factors affect the hearing loss of infants hospitalized in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). These factors include hyperbilirubinemia, low birth weight, asphyxia, and prematurity. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of hearing loss and its risk factors in NICU infants.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional study. Samples were 159 infants admitted to the NICU in Fatemieh and Shahid Beheshti hospitals in Hamadan, Iran, who were selected using a convenience sampling method. Their hearing was screened using transient evoked otoacoustic emission (TEOAE) and automated auditory brainstem response (AABR) tests; in case of failure in these tests, auditory brainstem response (ABR) was performed.
Results: Of 159 infants, 9 (5.66%) were identified with different types of hearing loss where 4 (2.51%) had sensory-neural hearing loss, one (0.62%) had auditory neuropathy and 4 (2.51%) had conductive hearing loss. There was a statistically significant relationship between hearing loss and birth weight < 1500 g, hyperbilirubinemia, antibiotic therapy, family history of hearing loss, asphyxia and Apgar score < 5.
Conclusion: Prevalence of hearing loss in NICU infants is noticeable so hearing assessment after discharge is necessary. Due to the presence of auditory neuropathy, simultaneous use of TEOAE and AABR tests in these infants is recommended.
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