Aim: Very preterm infants are at risk of neonatal hearing loss. However, it is unknown whether infants with a normal neonatal hearing screening result risk sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) at a later age. Methods: This cohort study was conducted at the Erasmus Medical University Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on 77 very preterm infants born between October 2005 and September 2008. All infants underwent auditory brainstem response audiometry during neonatal hearing screening and at two years of corrected age. The frequency of SNHL in infants with a normal neonatal hearing screening was analysed and the risk factors associated with newly diagnosed SNHL in these infants were examined. Results: We found that 3.9% (3/77) of the very preterm infants showed permanent hearing loss during their neonatal hearing screening. In addition, a relatively high prevalence of newly diagnosed SNHL (4.3%) was found in three of the 70 infants followed up at the age of two. The total prevalence rate of permanent hearing loss in the cohort was approximately 8%. Conclusion: A normal outcome of neonatal hearing screening did not guarantee normal hearing at two years of age in this very preterm cohort and paediatricians should be alert to the possibility of late-onset SNHL.

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Keywords Brainstem audiometry, Neonatal hearing screening, Sensorineural hearing loss, Very preterm infants
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Journal Acta Paediatrica: promoting child health
van Noort - Van der Spek, I.L, Goedegebure, A, Hartwig, N.G, Kornelisse, R.F, Franken, M.-C, & Weisglas-Kuperus, N. (2017). Normal neonatal hearing screening did not preclude sensorineural hearing loss in two-year-old very preterm infants. Acta Paediatrica: promoting child health, 106(10), 1569–1575. doi:10.1111/apa.13960