RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
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A multisite study to examine the efficacy of the otoacoustic emission/automated auditory brainstem response newborn hearing screening protocol: research design and results of the study.

PURPOSE: Most newborns are screened for hearing loss, and many hospitals use a 2-stage protocol in which all infants are screened first with otoacoustic emissions (OAEs). In this protocol, no additional testing is done for those passing the OAE screening, but infants failing the OAE are also screened with automated auditory brainstem response (A-ABR). This study evaluated how many infants who failed the OAE and passed the A-ABR had permanent hearing loss (PHL) at 8-12 months of age.

METHOD: A total of 86,634 infants were screened at 7 birthing centers using a 2-stage OAE/A-ABR hearing screening protocol. Of infants who failed the OAE but passed the A-ABR, 1,524 were enrolled in the study. Diagnostic audiologic evaluations were performed on 64% of the enrolled infants (1,432 ears from 973 infants) when they were 8-12 months old.

RESULTS: Twenty-one infants (30 ears) who passed the newborn A-ABR hearing screening were identified with PHL when they were 8-12 months old. Most (71%) had mild hearing loss.

CONCLUSIONS: If all infants were screened for hearing loss using a typical 2-stage OAE/A-ABR protocol, approximately 23% of those with PHL at 8-12 months of age would have passed the A-ABR.

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