Objective: To investigate whether false-positive outcomes on neonatal hearing screening cause long-lasting parental concerns.
Setting: General population of parents whose children participated in the universal neonatal hearing screening (UNHS) programme.
Design: Parents filled-out a questionnaire 6 months after UNHS. Outcomes were compared for all parents whose child tested positive or inconclusive in at least one of three tests, but afterwards proved not to be hearing impaired (cases, n=154), and a random sample of parents whose child passed the first screen (controls, n=288). Main outcome measures - Parental anxiety as measured with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), attitude towards the child (child health rating and experienced problems), and sensitivity to hearing problems.
Results: Median STAI score was equal for cases and controls. Parental attitudes toward the child also did not differ. The proportion of parents who worry about the child's hearing differed statistically significant for cases and controls (p=0.001) and varied with the number of screens; 4% of controls were worried about the child's hearing, as compared to 10% of cases tested twice, and 15% of cases tested three times.
Conclusions: False-positive UNHS test results do not cause long-term general parental anxiety. Yet, six months after screening, a considerable proportion of parents continued to experience hearing-specific worries regarding their child.
- oto-acoustic emissions (OAE)
- parental anxiety
- parental attitude
- parental concerns
- universal neonatal hearing screening (UNHS)