Infants at risk for prelingual sensorineural hearing loss


Infants are more susceptible to suffering from sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), particularly NICU newborns, according to an Italian study. The authors found a high SNHL prevalence (10.03%) in their cohort, with 33% of NICU newborns having a greater chance of developing SNHL because of the presence of multiple risk factors (or=1.33) and their interaction. As the number of coexisting risk factors increases, the prevalence of SNHL also increases (r(2)=0.93). Fifty-one infants (10.03%) were diagnosed with SNHL (45 bilateral and 6 monolateral) with a mean hearing threshold of 87.39±28.25dB HL; from logistic regression analysis family history of hearing impairment (HI) and TORCH infections resulted independent significant risk factors (P<0.00001 and P=0.024 respectively).

High SNHL percentages were evidenced also in NICU babies, due to the various pathologies and risk factors presented by these infants, and among newborns who suffered from hyperbilirubinemia requiring exchange transfusion (11.97% and 9.52% respectively). Craniofacial abnormalities (CFA) and syndromes associated to HI showed an important relationship (P<0.00001) with conductive hearing loss (CHL). Multiple regression analysis of the variation in SNHL among NICU infants evidenced an increased risk for SNHL of 21.24% and of 19.33% respectively in preterm infants and in case of hyperbilirubinemia if respiratory distress is concomitant with these risk factors.

It was also observed an higher risk of SNHL (99.66%) in case of coexistence of prematurity and hyperbilirubinemia. Finally among infants with very low birth weight (VLBW) it was evidenced a statistically difference between the mean weight of SNHL infants respect to NHL newborns (P=0.048).

Source: Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngology. 2013 Jan 16 RS

Rose Simpson