A 10-year prospective study of sensorineural hearing loss in children with congenital cytomegalovirus infection

J Pediatr. 2008 Jul;153(1):84-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2007.12.049. Epub 2008 Mar 6.


Objective: To determine the incidence, characteristics, and evolution of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in infants with a congenital cytomegalovirus infection (cCMV).

Study design: In a prospective 10-year study, 14 021 unselected live-born infants were screened for cCMV by virus isolation in urine. Congenitally infected newborns were evaluated for SNHL during the first 5 years of life.

Results: A total of 74 of the 14 021 infants (0.53%) were congenitally infected; of these, 4 (5.4%) were symptomatic at birth. Hearing testing could be performed in 60 of the infants. SNHL was found in 21% of the asymptomatic and in 33% of symptomatic congenitally infected infants. Late-onset hearing loss was detected in 5%, progression in 11%, fluctuation in 16%, and improved hearing threshold in 18% of the infants with cCMV. SNHL was observed in 15% of infected infants born after a maternal primary infection, in 7% born after a maternal recurrent infection, and in 40% after a maternal infection of indeterminate timing.

Conclusions: In our study population, 0.53% of the infants had cCMV infection, 22% of whom developed SNHL. Long-term follow up and repeated audiologic testing is needed, because progression, fluctuation, improvement, and late-onset hearing loss are important features of cCMV infection. The search for a neonatal screening program to detect all cCMV is worthwhile.

MeSH terms

  • Audiometry
  • Cytomegalovirus / metabolism*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / complications
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / complications
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnosis*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / virology*
  • Hearing Tests
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure
  • Mothers
  • Neonatal Screening
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors