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Prevalence of Hearing Loss among Very Low Birth Weight (VLBW) Babies in Two Tertiary Hospitals in Malaysia.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to evaluate hearing loss among very low birth weight babies in two hospitals in Malaysia.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A total of 380 babies from Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz (HCTM), Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) were recruited in this retrospective study. All babies with birthweight less than 1500grams nursed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) between January 2014 till December 2019 was included in the study. Data was analysed on demography, interval taken for hearing intervention and defaulter rate. The data of patient parameters between both hospitals were analysed and association between various factors were evaluated.

RESULTS: A total 187 Very Low Birth Weight (VLBW) Kuala Lumpur babies and 193 VLBW Sarawak babies met the inclusion and exclusion criteria, among which 10.1% and 10.9% had SNHL in Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak respectively. CHL was reported among 8.6% Kuala Lumpur and 14% of Sarawak babies. When studied on the different types and degrees of hearing loss, 2.6% of Kuala Lumpur babies born less than 28 Weeks Gestation Age (WGA) had moderate SNHL and 2.0% of Sarawak babies had profound SNHL. In this study only gestational age (week) (p=0.003) and dysmorphism (p<0.001) were statistically significant to be associated with hearing loss.

CONCLUSION: The prevalence of hearing loss among VLBW babies in Kuala Lumpur was 20.3% and 24.8% in Sarawak. Gestational age (p=0.044) and presence of dysmorphism (p<0.001) were found to have statistically significant association with prevalence of hearing loss. The defaulter rate at Kuala Lumpur was 52.6% and 42.3% in Sarawak.

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