IMPORTANCE: Hearing loss (HL), a major cause of disability globally, negatively affects both personal and professional life. OBJECTIVE To describe the prevalence of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) among a population-based cohort of 9- to 11-year-old children, and to examine potential associations between purported risk factors and SNHL in early childhood. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: The study was among the general, nonclinical, pediatric community within the city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and was conducted between 2012 and 2015 as a cross-sectional assessment within the Generation R Study, a population-based longitudinal cohort study from fetal life until adulthood. Participants are children of included pregnant women in the Generation R Study with an expected delivery date between April 2002 and January 2006. They form a prenatally recruited birth cohort. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Pure-tone air-conduction hearing thresholds were obtained at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 kHz, and tympanometry was performed in both ears. Demographic factors and parent-reported questionnaire data, including history of otitis media, were also measured. RESULTS A total of 5368 participants with a mean age of 9 years 9 months (interquartile range, 9 years 7 months–9 years 11 months) completed audiometry and were included in the analyses. A total of 2720 were girls (50.7%), and 3627 (67.6%) were white. Most of the participants (4426 children [82.5%]) showed normal hearing thresholds 15 dB HL or less in both ears. Within the cohort, 418 children (7.8%) were estimated to have SNHL (16 dB HL at low-frequency pure-tone average; average at 0.5, 1, and 2 kHz or high-frequency pure-tone average; average at 3, 4, and 6 kHz in combination with a type A tympanogram) in at least 1 ear, most often at higher frequencies. In multivariable analyses, a history of recurrent acute otitis media and lower maternal education were associated with the estimated SNHL at ages 9 to 11 years (odds ratio, 2.0 [95% CI. 1.5-2.8] and 1.4 [95% CI, 1.1-1.7], respectively). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Within this cohort study in the Netherlands, 7.8% of the children ages 9 to 11 years had low-frequency or high-frequency HL of at least 16 dB HL in 1 or both ears. A history of recurrent acute otitis media and lower maternal education seem to be independent risk factors for presumed SNHL in early childhood.

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Journal JAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
le Clercq, C.M.P, Van Ingen, G, Ruytjens, L, Goedegebure, A, Moll, H.A, Raat, H, … van der Schroeff, M.P. (2017). Prevalence of hearing loss among children 9 to 11 years old: The Generation R Study. JAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, 143(9), 928–934. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2017.1068