Prevalence of Hearing Loss in Newborns Admitted to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Document Type : Original


1 Neonatal Research Center, Faculty of medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 Department of otorhinolaryngology, Khalili Hospital, Faculty l of medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran


Hearing is essential for humans to communicate with one another. Early diagnosis of hearing loss and intervention in neonates and infants can reduce developmental problems. The aim of the present study was to assess the prevalence of hearing impairment in newborns admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and analyze the associated risk factors.
Materials and Methods:
This cross-sectional study was conducted to assess the prevalence of hearing loss in neonates who were admitted to the NICU at Nemazee Hospital, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences between January 2006 and January 2007. Auditory function was examined using otoacoustic emission (OAE) followed by auditory brainstem response (ABR) tests. Relevant potential risk factors were considered and neonates with a family history of hearing loss and craniofacial abnormality were excluded. For statistical analysis logistic regression, the chi-squared test, and Fisher’s exact test were used. 
Among the 124 neonates included in the study, 17 (13.7%) showed hearing loss in the short term. There was a significant statistical relationship between gestational age of less than 36 weeks (P=0.013), antibiotic therapy (P= 0.033), oxygen therapy (P=0.04), and hearing loss. On the contrary, there was no significant relationship between hearing loss and use of a ventilator, or the presence of sepsis, hyperbilirubinemia, congenial heart disease, transient tachypnea of newborn, congenital pneumonia, or respiratory distress syndrome.
Auditory function in neonates who are admitted to a NICU, especially those treated with oxygenor antibiotics and those born prematurely, should be assessed during their stay in hospital. The importance of early diagnosis of hearing loss and intervention in these neonates and avoidance of any unnecessary oxygenor antibiotic therapy needs to be further promoted.