Published: 2019-06-27

Hearing loss among children with sickle cell anaemia in Uganda

Nzanzu Kikuhe, Heather Hume, Emily Kakande, Justine Namwagala


Background: A case control was carried out to study the prevalence, the pattern and associated factors of hearing loss among Ugandan children with sickle cell anaemia.

Methods: One hundred and thirty-two children known sickle cell and one hundred thirty aged matched non-SCA controls were recruited after medical ethics committee approval and informed consent. Two obtain information on socio-demographic characteristics, history, and examination of the participants, a structured questionnaire was administered. Pure tone audiometry (PTA) was used to assess the hearing in a sound-treated room.  

Results: Twenty-two of the children had hearing impairment compared to 6 controls. Prevalence of hearing loss found among children with SCA was 17% but in the control group the prevalence found was 5%. Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) affected 39%, conductive (CHL) 25% and mixed (MHL) 14% among cases compared to CHL 7%, SNHL 7% and MHL 7% among the controls. The hearing loss varied from mild to moderate (95%). All sickle cell children had high-frequency hearing loss. There was a statistically significant association of hearing loss and neurologic motor deficit.

Conclusions: Sickle patients are at risk of developing hearing loss as the study demonstrated a difference in hearing threshold in children living with sickle cell anaemia and the controls. High frequencies were more affected. The neurologic motor deficit was highly associated with hearing loss among patients with SCA compared to controls.


Sickle cell disease, Hearing loss, Children

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