• Initial results from the newborn hearing screening programme in Ireland.

      O'Connor, A; O'Sullivan, P G; Behan, L; Norman, G; Murphy, B; Department of Otolaryngology, South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital, Cork, Ireland, aoconnor@rcsi.ie. (2013-03-02)
      INTRODUCTION: Hearing screening programmes aim to detect hearing loss in the neonate. The Health Service Executive (HSE) South was the first phase of a national roll-out of a neonatal hearing screening programme in Ireland, going live on 28 April 2011. RESULTS: Over 11,738 babies have been screened for permanent childhood hearing impairment (PCHI) during the first 12 months. The percentage of eligible babies offered hearing screening was 99.2 %. Only 0.2 % (n = 25) of those offered screening declined. 493 (4 %) were referred for immediate diagnostic audiological assessment. The average time between screen and diagnostic audiology appointment was 2 weeks. 15 (1.3/1,000) babies have been identified with a PCHI over the 12-month period. 946 (4 %) babies screened were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for >48 h. The prevalance of PCHI is 7.3/1,000 in the NICU population compared to 0.6/1000 in the well baby population. 214 (1.8 % of total babies screened) had a clear response in the screening programmes, but were deemed to be at risk of an acquired childhood hearing impairment. These babies will be reassessed with a diagnostic audiology appointment at 8-9 months of age. To date, there is one case of acquired hearing impairment through this targeted follow-up screen. Of the 15 cases of PCHI identified, 8 (53 %) of these had one or more risk factors for hearing loss and 7 (37 %) were admitted to the NICU for >48 h. Four babies were referred for assessment at the National Cochlear Implant Centre.