A precocious diagnosis of infantile deafness is essential to avoid its implications in the family and the social and employment future of those that suffer from them. The discovery of new tests that can be used for auditory screening, such as otoacoustic emission, has opened new perspectives in this field.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
Universal screening was performed including neonates born in our area. We studied 7,153 children (296 with indicators of risk) born between 1995 and 1997. Our protocol was based on transient evoked otoacoustic emissions as the screening method and brainstem auditory evoked potentials as the diagnostic procedure.
Two out of 1000 ears studied presented serious/deep deafness and 1.39 per 100 had some type of hearing loss. The incidence of pathology was higher among ears of children with risk factors: 1.8 per 100 had serious/deep deafness and 7.59 per 100 some type of hearing loss.
Transient evoked otoacoustic emission is an effective method when used in infantile auditory screening, since it is objective, bloodless and quick. Its correlation with auditory evoked potentials is very high, which proves their reliability. The best moment to perform this test (OAE) is when the discharge from the hospital is certified. We believe that universal screening is necessary, although a much higher incidence of deafness is encountered among children with risk factors. The establishment of programs for the precocious detection of infantile deafness should not be delayed.
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