Background and Aim To determine the prevalence of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) measured by auditory brainstem response (ABR) at 2 years of corrected age in very preterm (VPT) infants with normal neonatal hearing screening (NHS).
Methods 85 VPT infants (gestational age < 32 weeks, birth weight < 1850 grams), born between October 2008 and February 2010, underwent NHS by automated auditory brainstem response (AABR) shortly after birth and ABR at 2 years of corrected age. The frequency of SNHL in VPT infants with bilateral pass AABR was analyzed. SNHL was estimated from the ABR responses and defined as a hearing loss >20 dB for at least one ear, after correction for possible conductive hearing loss. Univariate analyses were performed to identify risk factors associated with SNHL.
Results Bilateral pass AABR shortly after birth was found in 81 (95%) VPT infants. In spite of bilateral pass AABR, 23 (29%) out of 78 VPT infants had hearing loss, defined as an estimated hearing loss >20 dB HL for at least one ear, measured by ABR at 2 years of corrected age. Of these VPT infants, 5 (6%) had SNHL. Proven sepsis was found in 4 (80%) VPT infants with SNHL compared to 23 (32%) VPT infants without SNHL (P<0.05).
Conclusions SNHL could be identified in 6% of 2-year-old VPT infants in spite of normal NHS shortly after birth. Follow-up audiometric testing after normal NHS is recommended for VPT infants who had proven sepsis in the neonatal period.