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Prevalence of hearing impairment and outcome of universal neonatal hearing screening program in a tertiary care hospital – in UAE

Journal of Pediatrics & Neonatal Care
Mahmoud Saleh ElHalik,1 Swarup Kumar Dash,2 Arif Moinuddin Faquih,3 Rim Aref Mahfouz,4 Faseela Shejee,5 Nazreen Haroon,5 Khaled Mahmoud ElAtawi3


Background and objective: Hearing loss is one of the most common congenital anomalies, occurring in 1 to 3 per 1000 newborn infants in the well-baby nursery population, and 2 to 4 per 100 infants in the Neonatal intensive care unit graduates. The aim of the study is to identify babies with potential hearing loss and direct them to early intervention and rehabilitation. The program also initiated to create awareness about the need for detecting childhood deafness among parents and general population. An estimate of coverage, prevalence and proportion of babies defaulting newborn hearing screening program and
diagnostic evaluation monitored closely to find the effectiveness of the program.
Study design: This is a retrospective study and was conducted at Latifa women and children’s hospital (LWCH), a tertiary care referral hospital at Dubai, United Arab Emirates, over a period of two years from January 2018 to December 2019. Neonates admitted in Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and Post Natal wards (PNW) were screened. We followed three tier approach of hearing screening. All eligible neonates were subjected to Transient Evoked Oto-acoustic emission (TEOAE) prior to discharge. Automated auditory brainstem response (AABR) hearing screening was conducted in neonates who did not pass TEOAE test. Infant who failed second screening (AABR) were subjected to comprehensive hearing evaluation prior to three months of age.
Results: Out of the total 7923 neonates, 7895(99.65%) were screened and 118 (1.49%) newborns referred for comprehensive audiological evaluation. Among them, 27(0.34%)
were identified with various degrees of hearing loss. The prevalence of hearing loss was
found to be 0.16% and 0.92% among neonates from PNW and NICU respectively.
Conclusion: Implementation of Universal newborn hearing screening program is the need of the hour, as early detection of Hearing loss will aid early rehabilitation and better outcomes.


hearing screen, neonates, infants, neonatal intensive care unit, preterm, hearing loss, hearing impairment