Children’s Hearing Benefits Early Inspection

A new Dutch study has revealed that screening for hearing problems earlier than later, within the first weeks of a life, benefits children.

The report, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that newborn hearing screening is associated with better developmental outcomes at ages three to five years among children with permanent childhood hearing impairment.

The Leiden University Medical Centre compared distraction screening (a behavioural test conducted around the age of nine months), with another screening method.

The researchers found that newborn screening led to more spoken and fewer signed words, as well as a better social development and gross motor development at three to five years of age.

The children who had a newborn hearing screening also scored higher on measures of overall quality of life.

Of the children who underwent newborn screening, fewer than one (0.78) of every 1000 were diagnosed with a hearing loss.

The researchers analysed the outcomes of nearly 600,000 Dutch babies born between 2003 and 2005.

335,560 children were born in a newborn hearing screening region and 234,826 children in a distraction hearing screening region.

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