Purpose: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a 2-hr initial audiologic assessment appointment for infants referred from area universal newborn hearing screening (UNHS) programs to a clinical audiology department in an urban hospital. Method: A prospective auditory brainstem response (ABR)-based protocol, including clicks, frequency-specific tone bursts, and bone-conducted stimuli, was administered by 10 audiologists to 375 infants. Depending on the ABR findings, additional test options included distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs), high-frequency tympanometry, and/or otologic examination. Results: In 88% of the 2-hr test sessions, at least 4 ABR threshold estimates were obtained (i.e., bilateral clicks and either a 500- or 1000-Hz tone burst and a 4000-Hz frequency tone burst for the better ear). The incidence of hearing loss was significantly different across nursery levels: 18% for Level I (well baby), 29% for Level II (special care), and 52% for Level III (neonatal intensive care unit). Hearing loss type was defined at the initial assessment for 35 of the 51 infants with bilateral hearing loss based on bone-conduction ABR, latency measures, DPOAEs, high-frequency tympanometry, and/or otologic examination. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that a 2-hr test appointment is appropriate for all nursery levels to diagnose severity and type of hearing loss in the majority of infants referred from UNHS. Examination by an otolaryngologist within 24-48 hr further defines the hearing loss and facilitates treatment plans.
- Auditory brainstem response
- Hearing loss