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Is neonatal screening relevant for detecting permanent childhood hearing impairment?

Author(s): Dauman R | Roussey M | Garabadian N

Journal: Pratiques et organisation des soins
ISSN 1952-9201

Volume: 40;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 207;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Otoacoustic emissions | automated auditory brainstem responses | handicap | early intervention | hearing aid fitting in young children | language development | psychological impact.

In the framework of the opportunity to screen at birth all babies born on the French territory, six questions are considered.Is permanent childhood hearing impairment a public health problem? Whereas level of hearing impairment to be considered and prevalence appear rather consensual, the criterion of severe handicap requires tact and respect. Questions on identification at an early stage, existence of a simple, reliable and well-accepted screening test, and benefit in terms of age at diagnosis appear comparatively easier to solve, the proportion of children identified before 6 months of age being doubled with screening at birth.The evidence for a better development of hearing-impaired children after early intervention was more difficult to ascertain. In profoundly deaf congenital children who received a cochlear implant, oral language develops faster when implantation is performed between 12 and 24 months. If investigation extends to all degrees of hearing impairment, early intervention (by 9 months) results in a better receptive language at 8 years.Do false-positive screens induce negative long-term effects? According to a recent comparative study, parental anxiety at 6 months of age is similar in falsepositives and true negatives. However, in the falsepositive group, many parents (close to 60%) declare their tendency to frequently check that their child is hearing well.Prat Organ Soins 2009;40(3):207-212
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