Use of furosemide and hearing loss in neonatal intensive care survivors

Am J Perinatol. 2004 Aug;21(6):329-32. doi: 10.1055/s-2004-831887.


Hearing loss is a significant morbidity in survivors of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The overall prevalence of hearing loss in neonates is 0.93 per 1000 live births, whereas in neonates weighing less than 2000 g, it is as high as 15.5 per 1000 live births. The increased incidence of hearing loss in NICU graduates has been attributed to their underlying disease process as well as exposure to ototoxic drugs including furosemide. A retrospective chart review of all neonatal intensive care survivors was done to evaluate the potential effect of furosemide on hearing loss. From July 2000 to January 2002, there were 57 neonates who received and 207 neonates who did not receive furosemide. The incidence of abnormal hearing screen was 15.5% in the furosemide group and 15.9% in the nonfurosemide group ( p = 0.9). Although the incidence of hearing loss is significantly higher in NICU graduates in comparison with the general neonatal population, it does not seem to be directly related to the use of furosemide.

MeSH terms

  • Auditory Threshold / drug effects
  • Brain Stem / drug effects
  • Deafness / chemically induced
  • Deafness / epidemiology
  • District of Columbia / epidemiology
  • Diuretics / administration & dosage
  • Diuretics / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Furosemide / administration & dosage
  • Furosemide / adverse effects*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / chemically induced*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnosis
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / drug therapy
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal* / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Medical Records
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • Diuretics
  • Furosemide