Objective To evaluate the incidence of hearing impairment in infants with or without preauricular skin tags or ear pits.
Patients and Methods During 7.5 years, 68 484 infants were screened, of whom 637 (0.93%) had preauricular skin tags or ear pits. The population was divided into three groups: (1) a low-risk group for hearing impairment (n = 65 051) included 587 infants with isolated preauricular skin tags or pits; (2) a high-risk group (n = 3406) included 39 infants with preauricular skin tags or pits and (3) a very high-risk group with major auricular deformities (n = 27) included 11 infants with preauricular skin tags or pits. The latter group was excluded from further analysis.
Results Five infants out of 626 infants (8/1000) with preauricular skin tags or ear pits had permanent hearing impairment compared with 100 out of 67 831 (1.5/1000) without skin tags or ear pits (p<0.005). In the low-risk group 3.4/1000 had the combination of hearing impairment and skin tags or pits compared with 0.5/1000 infants with hearing impairment without skin tags or pits (p<0.05). Of the high-risk group 77/1000 had hearing impairment with skin tags or pits compared with 20/1000 without skin tags or pits (p<0.05). Infants with skin tags or pits had a 4.6-fold relative risk (95% CI 1.9 to 11.1) of permanent hearing impairment after adjusting for the risk group.
Conclusions Infants with preauricular skin tags or pits are at excess risk for the presence of permanent conductive or sensorineural hearing impairment.