[Universal hearing screening in the Champagne-Ardenne regions: results and consideration after 55 000 births from January 2004 to June 2007]

T Langagne, P Schmidt, M Leveque, A Chays
Revue de Laryngologie—Otologie—Rhinologie 2008, 129 (3): 153-8

AIM: This study presents the results of the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS) experience in Champagne-Ardenne from January 2004 to June 2007.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A UNHS program was introduced in the entire French region of Champagne-Ardenne in January 2004. Developed upon a strong demand from public and private medical institutions, the program's aim is the early detection and treatment of bilateral profound or severe hearing loss. The program is composed of 2 steps: the first test is realised in maternity and consists of automated OtoAcoustic Emissions (aOAE). When absent in both ears at first test (positive screening test), the child is referred to a second test 15 days after maternity discharge (aOAE or automated Auditory Brainstem Response (aABR)). If the second test is still failed (positive screening test), the child is referred to a diagnostic procedure (Auditory Brainstem Response) realised by a paediatrician ENT in a reference centre. The UNHS program differs for newborns in Neonatal Intensive Care Units where aABR is realised at first test because of the high frequency of auditory neuropathy in this population. All results are collected in the Regional Neonatal Screening Centre, in charge of the UNHS follow-up.

RESULTS: 53 930 newborns benefited from the UNHS program, which represent 98.7% of the 54 790 births in the region during this period. 591 newborns had a positive first test (no aOAE responses) and were referred to the second test. 532 had a negative second test and 46 had a positive second test. 22 children could not have the second test: 4 children deceased, 9 were lost to follow-up (the families moved outside the region) and 9 families refused the second test. The 46 neonates were referred to the diagnostic ABR test and 42 of those 46 babies were diagnosed with neonatal bilateral hearing losses before the age of 6 months.

CONCLUSION: This UNHS experience demonstrates that such UNHS programs are feasible and reliable, at least in a region as wide as Champagne-Ardenne. It achieved to diagnose 42 hearing impaired children, who could benefit from an early intervention for their handicap.

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