Title:
Universal neonatal hearing screening in Flanders reveals socio-demographic risk factors for hearing impairment
Authors:
E. Van Kerschaver
Institutions:
Kind en Gezin (Child and Family), Brussels (www.kindengezin.be)
Keywords:
Sensorineural hearing loss; hearing impairment; neonatal screening; socio-demographic factors; risk factors
Pages:
3 - 8
Abstract:
Universal neonatal hearing screening in Flanders reveals socio-demographic risk factors for hearing impair- ment. Introduction: Permanent congenital hearing impairment (CHI) occurs in approximately 1.4 per 1,000 newborns. Early treatment and rehabilitation is essential to prevent the delayed development of speech and language. This paper describes the special collaborative approach of the Flemish screening programme. It also discusses the results and the new insights into socio-demographic risk factors for CHI. Methods: In the period 1999-2008, the entire population of 628,337 newborns in Flanders was tested using an AABR hearing­screener.­Positive­results­were­referred­for­confirmation­of­the­CHI­diagnosis­to­specialised­referral­centres.­ Socio-demographic factors were investigated to study any relationship with CHI. Results: The referral rate after two screenings was 2.7-7.2 of screened babies depending on the screener used. All children were referred to specialised centres and there was almost no loss to follow-up. The diagnosis of hearing loss was confirmed­in­77-82%­of­the­babies­referred.­The­socio-demographic­factors­of­gender,­birth­order­and­birth­length,­initial­ feeding type, level of education and origin of the mother were found to be independent predictors of CHI. Most of these risk factors can be linked to poverty. The­observation­that­50%­of­babies­with­CHI­have­no­risk­factors­from­the­classic­AAP­list­may­be­partly­explained­by­ the non-inclusion of socio-demographic risk factors. Conclusions: This integrated programme opens up new perspectives for hearing-impaired babies. The social impact of the screening programme is considerable. A cluster of socio-demographic risk factors for CHI can be added to the classic AAP list.
Issue:
Suppl. 21, 2013


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Universal neonatal hearing screening in Flanders reveals socio-demographic risk factors for hearing impairment