Family hearing history should be monitored

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Children with the risk factors of family history and craniofacial anomalies should have their hearing monitored throughout early childhood, whereas children with the risk factor of lower birth rate should not, an Australian study has concluded. The aim of the research, conducted by the University of Queensland, was to determine the risk factors most likely to predict the occurrence of postnatal hearing loss. This study involved children who were born in Queensland, Australia, between September 2004 and December 2009, who had received a bilateral "pass" result during newborn hearing screening, had one or more risk factors identified during screening that triggered a referral to the targeted surveillance program, and had completed their follow-up audiology appointment series according to Queensland's diagnostic audiology protocols. During the study period, 2107 children met the inclusion criteria and were included in this study. Of these, 56 children (2.7%) were identified with a postnatal hearing loss. Statistical analysis revealed that two risk factors, family history (odds ratio [OR]: 1.92; 95% CI: 1.04-3.56), and craniofacial anomalies (OR: 2.61; 95% CI: 1.19-5.70) predicted the occurrence of postnatal hearing loss in children. In contrast, the risk factor of low birth weight (LBW) (OR: 0.14; 95% CI: 0.05-0.39) did not.

Two additional risk factors, syndrome and prolonged ventilation, indicated favorable results for monitoring; however, the study authors say a full analysis was unable to be completed due to statistical limitations. “There was insufficient evidence within this study to support monitoring of children with the remaining risk factors of severe asphyxia, congenital infection, bacterial meningitis, professional concern, and hyperbilirubinemia,” they said. “Further research with large cohorts of children with and without risk factors needs to be completed to further understand the relationship between risk factors and postnatal hearing loss.”

Source:Journal of the American Academy of Audiology

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