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Early detection of hearing loss

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Author(s): Schade, Götz

Journal: GMS Current Topics in Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery
ISSN 1865-1011

Volume: 7;
Start page: Doc05;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Universal Neonatal Screening Program (UNHS) | deafness | hearing disorders | tracking | screening | follow-up

ABSTRACT
The universal newborn hearing screening (UNHS) is currently spreading in Germany, as well, even though there can be no talk of a comprehensive establishment. The introduction of UNHS in several federal states such as Hamburg, Hessen, and Schleswig-Holstein can be ascribed to the personal commitment of individual pediatric audiologists. Apart from the procurement of the screening equipment and the training of the staff responsible for the examination of the newborns, the tracking, i.e. the follow-up on children with conspicuous test results, is of utmost importance. This involves significant administration effort and work and is subject to data protection laws that can differ substantially between the various federal states. Among audiologists, there is consensus that within the first three months of a child’s life, a hearing loss must be diagnosed and that between the age of 3 and 6 months, the supply of a hearing aid must have been initiated. For this purpose, screening steps 1 (usually a TEOAE measurement) and 2 (AABR testing) need to be conducted in the maternity hospital. The follow-up of step 1 then comprises the repetition of the TEOAE- and AABR measurement for conspicuous children by a specialized physician. The follow-up of step 2 comprises the confirmatory diagnostics in a pediatric audiological center. This always implies BERA diagnostics during spontaneous sleep or under sedation. The subsequent early supply of a hearing aid should generally be conducted by a (pediatric) acoustician specialized on children.
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