Objective: To determine the type of hearing loss, incidence of the lost to follow-up rate, and the time to diagnose sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in children with Down syndrome (DS) identified from a statewide database.
Study design: Case series with chart review.
Setting: Pediatric referral center.
Subjects and methods: Three hundred forty-four patients with DS born in Utah between January 2002 and December 2006 were identified using the Utah Department of Health's Newborn Hearing Screening database and birth defects registry.
Results: Three hundred thirty-two patients were included in the study. Eighty-seven infants (26.2%) did not pass their newborn hearing screening (NBS). Thirty-three of these children (37.9%) had a conductive hearing loss attributed to serous otitis media. Five infants had SNHL; 3 children were diagnosed with a mixed hearing loss (MHL). The average time to diagnose a sensorineural hearing loss was 485 ± 601 days. One child who passed his NBS was subsequently found to have an SNHL. More than 43% of the newborns with DS who passed their NBS developed a conductive hearing loss requiring insertion of ventilation tubes. Eighty-four percent of newborns with DS who did not undergo NBS did not have any apparent subsequent audiologic testing.
Conclusion: Patients with DS present with a relatively high incidence of conductive hearing loss, MHL, and SNHL and a higher lost to follow-up rate compared to patients without DS. The authors were not able to diagnose SNHL within the 90-day period recommended by the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing.