Newborn Screenings May Miss Hearing Loss in Some
MONDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- Newborn hearing screenings
don't detect all children at risk for hearing loss, a new study
Researchers in Illinois examined data from 391 children who
received cochlear implants in the state from 1991 to 2008, and
found that nearly one-third of children who received the implants
had passed newborn screening tests but were later diagnosed with
Cochlear implants are small electronic devices that are
surgically implanted and stimulate the auditory nerve to enable the
deaf or severely hard-of-hearing to process sound.
The study included 264 children born before universal newborn
hearing screening (UNHS) became mandatory in Illinois in 2003 and
127 children born after screening became mandatory.
Children born after the UNHS law took effect were younger when
they were diagnosed with hearing loss than children born before the
mandate, according to the study.
Children born post-mandate were also younger when they were
diagnosed with severe to profound hearing loss, and younger when
they received cochlear implants compared to those born before the
Spotting deafness or hearing loss early is important in helping
kids develop speech and language skills, experts have found.
"Almost one-third of our pediatric implant recipients pass UNHS and are older at the time of initial diagnosis and implantation than their peers who fail UNHS," Dr. Nancy Melinda Young, of Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, and colleagues reported.
Some of the children who passed the newborn screening test may
have had "delayed onset" hearing loss, which "limits our ability to
achieve early diagnosis and implantation of a significant number of
deaf children," the authors concluded.
The study is published in the March issue of the journal
Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.
The U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication
Disorders has more about
newborn hearing screening.
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