Thirty-five neonates with sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), identified by brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER), and 70 matched controls with normal BAERs were studied. All infants had had BAERs before discharge from hospital as part of a screening program for high-risk neonates. Infants with SNHL showed no response to a 60dBnHL click stimulus and all had these results confirmed on at least one occasion after hospital discharge. Based on the screening program results, over-all prevalence of non-hereditary hearing loss was estimated to be 0.93 per 1000 live births, and in neonates weighing less than 2000g at birth to be 15.54 per 1000 live births. Several factors, including seizures, exposure to anticonvulsant drugs, furosemide and kanamycin were associated with SNHL, but after multivariate analysis, only exposure to furosemide remained significant. Peak serum bilirubin concentration and benzyl alcohol exposure did not appear to be related to hearing loss.