Large study suggests Gestational COVID-19 is not a risk factor for congenital hearing loss
- Published on 28 February 2023
A study published in Otology & Neurotology by researchers at İzmir Kâtip Çelebi University in Izmir, Turkey, suggests that gestational Covid-19 is not a risk factor for permanent congenital hearing loss.
This retrospective cohort study was designed to determine whether Covid-19 during pregnancy is a risk factor for congenital hearing loss. The hearing screening test results of 60,223 newborns between March 2020 and May 2021 were reviewed using the national database.
Newborn babies of 570 pregnant women with positive COVID-19 PCR test during pregnancy who met the study criteria were included in the gestational COVID-19 group, and 570 healthy newborns born in the same period were included in the control group. When the two groups were compared in terms of demographic data, no statistically significant difference was observed for any of the variables (maternal age, gestational age, birth weight, sex of the newborn, mode of delivery).
Of the mothers in the gestational covid-19 group, 62 had Covid-19 in the first trimester, 181 in the second trimester, and 327 in the third trimester. The results of up to three automated brainstem auditory response tests within the first 30 days of life were used for newborn hearing screening. When the results of the first and second newborn hearing screening test were compared between the groups, the number of babies with hearing loss was higher in the gestational Covid-19 group than in the control group. For the results of the third test, hearing loss was only detected in one baby in both groups.
When the first, second and third results of the newborn hearing screening test were compared according to the trimesters in which the positivity of Covid-19 was identified, the difference between the trimesters was not found to be statistically significant.
Third screening test still advisable
According to the study authors, this is the largest study in the literature on the impact of Covid-19 on newborn hearing. The study results suggest that gestational Covid-19 is not a risk factor for permanent congenital hearing loss. However, as the risk of detecting hearing loss is high in the first fortnight, the researchers emphasize the importance of the third screening test.
Source: Otology and Neurotology