Hearing loss in very preterm and very low birthweight infants at the age of 5 years in a nationwide cohort

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1993 Feb;26(1):11-28. doi: 10.1016/0165-5876(93)90192-6.


In a geographically defined population of very preterm and very low birthweight infants (gestational age < 32 weeks and/or birthweight < 1500 g) hearing was evaluated in 890 children by pure-tone audiometry at the age of 5 years. Hearing loss was conductive/unspecified in 123 (13.8%) and sensorineural in 13 (1.5%) children. The prevalence of sensorineural hearing loss was 15 times as high as in 5-7 year old children in the Dutch population at large. The sensorineural hearing loss prevalence in very low birthweight and extremely low birthweight infants was similar. On account of communication disorders 10 (1.1%) children were classified as disabled and 6 (0.7%) as handicapped, following the definitions of the International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities, and Handicaps of the World Health Organisation. Children with conductive hearing loss had a higher risk of impairments, disabilities and handicaps of language and speech development, than children with normal hearing, the difference being statistically significant. The same holds for children with sensorineural hearing loss; moreover they had a significantly higher risk of impairments, disabilities and handicaps of mental development. Overall comparison of children with and without sensorineural hearing loss proved that the children with sensorineural hearing loss had a significantly less favourable outcome, based on 15 perinatal factors simultaneously. The age at which sensorineural hearing loss in very preterm and/or very low birthweight infants is detected has to be improved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hearing Loss, Conductive / diagnosis
  • Hearing Loss, Conductive / epidemiology*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnosis
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Risk Factors