Background NICU graduates have both an increased risk of permanent childhood hearing impairment (PCHI) and delayed psychomotor development. Little follow up is available after introduction of neonatal hearing screening (NHS).
Aim Comparison of language and psychomotor development as well as quality of life in NICU graduates vs. well baby clinic (WBC) newborns with PCHI at the age of 3–5 years.
Method All children (born 2003–2005) with PCHI identified in the Netherlands at speech and hearing centres were included. Development and quality of life (QOL) were measured at age 3–5 yrs by using the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory, Child Development Inventory (CDI), and Pediatric QOL Inventory 4.0.
Results Twenty-six NICU graduates and 64 WBC newborns completed all measurements. Language development showed significant difference for total words signed (23.3 vs 10.6; p=0,009). All other scores in NICU graduates on subscales of MacArthur tend to be lower. Though CDI scores were not statistically significantly different, the scores of social (70.1 vs 75.2), self-help (80.0 vs 86.2) and gross motor development (72.0 vs 83.4) were considered clinically significant. Total QOL score differed not significantly (79.4 vs 85.5), inclusive physical functioning (85.7 vs 90.4) but the subscales social functioning (75.4 vs 85.3; p=0,004) and psychosocial health summary score (75.9 vs 82.4; p=0,018) did for NICU graduates.
Conclusion After NHS NICU graduates with PCHI pursuit to have an increased risk for delayed language and psychomotor development compared to their ‘healthy’ peers with PCHI. Also quality of life is negatively affected.