Neonatal hearing assessment in very low birth weight infants exposed to antenatal steroids

J Perinatol. 2008 Jan;28(1):67-70. doi: 10.1038/ Epub 2007 Nov 22.


Objective: We sought to evaluate neonatal hearing assessment by the otoacoustic emission (OAE) test in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants exposed to antenatal steroids.

Study design: This is a retrospective cohort study of infants <1500 g delivered between July 1998 and July 2004 who completed hearing screens on discharge. All screens were performed by the OAE. Only infants who failed or passed the exam were included in the analysis. Infants with a partial or an inadequate exam were excluded. Neonates exposed to antenatal steroids were then compared to unexposed infants for the results of their OAE.

Result: A total of 68,000 deliveries were performed during the study period. There were 703 VLBW infants who had hearing exams, of which 548 (78%) passed the screen, 95 (14%) failed and 59 (8%) were indeterminate. Gestational age, birth weight, score for neonatal acute physiology and severe intraventricular hemorrhage were associated with a failed screen (P<0.01). Antenatal steroid exposure was not associated with a failed screen (odds ratio: 0.83 (95% confidence interval 0.5-1.4), P=0.43).

Conclusion: In our population, antenatal steroids were not associated with a positive or negative effect on hearing assessment of VLBW infants.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Hearing / drug effects*
  • Hearing Tests
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Steroids / adverse effects*


  • Steroids