Hearing impairment among high risk neonates born in a tertiary care hospital in north Kerala: a cross sectional study

Ahsanu Zaman Kunnath, Anwar Sadath Choolakkaparambu Aboobakker, Bashir Nalakath Kunjimon, Sandeep Sreedhar


Background: Hearing is necessary for the proper mental and social development of a new-borns child. Delay in diagnosis leads to improper development of social and mental skills. The prevalence of congenital hearing loss is greater than prevalence of screened metabolic syndromes. There are multiple maternal and intrapartum risk factors associated with hearing impairment. Most of the causes are treatable. Objectives was to find out the proportion of hearing impairment in neonates and its risk factors in a tertiary care hospital in north Kerala.

Methods: This cross-sectional research was performed in a tertiary care hospital in Northern Kerala between January 2018 and June 2019 after obtaining informed consent and institutional ethical committee clearance among those who fulfilled the inclusion and exclusion criteria. All the high-risk new-borns were subjected to Otoacoustic examination. Those who did not pass the first OAE were subjected to second OAE after one month. Those who did not pass in the examination were subjected to BERA. Those high risk children who did not pass the BERA were considered having hearing impairment and were subjected to further investigation and appropriate management.   

Results: The prevalence of hearing impairment was 0.5%. 0.25% were unilateral and 0.25% were bilateral. Pregnancy induced hypertension, premature labour, lower segment Caesarian section, low birth weight, small for gestational age, respiratory distress, hyperbilirubinemia and presence of congenital malformations were significantly associated with hearing impairment.  

Conclusions: Since most of the congenital hearing loss among high risk neonates can be treated, a nationwide standardized hearing assessment program is advocated for the early detection of high risk children with hearing loss.


High risk neonates, Early hearing loss, Risk factors, Screening

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