Hearing loss among high-risk newborns admitted to a tertiary Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Abstract
Purpose: The aim of this work is to identify the most significant risk factors for hearing impairment in high risk neonates hospitalized at our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and to assess the sensitivity of hearing screening tests.

Methods: This study involved 260 neonates admitted to a tertiary NICU; they were classified into two groups; 150 preterm and 110 full terms with risk factors for hearing loss. The hearing screening tests performed were transient evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs) and the automated auditory brainstem response (AABR).

Results: Forty-eight preterm neonates (32%) and 30 full term neonates (27.3%) had pathological AABR. In preterm group, mechanical ventilation more than five days, sepsis, usage of aminoglycosides, loop diuretics, vancomycin alone or in combination with aminoglycosides and prolonged duration of admission were considered risk factors of hearing affection whereas in full term group mechanical ventilation more than five days was the risk factor of hearing affection (p<.05).

Conclusions: The prevalence of hearing loss is highest among high risk neonates and TEOAE and AABR were found to be reliable screening tools. Use of ototoxic drugs and mechanical ventilation for more than five days were significant risk factors for hearing loss in our study population.

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