Objectives: Neonates admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are at greater risk of permanent hearing loss compared to infants in well mother and baby units. Several factors have been associated with this increased prevalence of hearing loss, including congenital infections (e.g. cytomegalovirus or syphilis), ototoxic drugs (such as aminoglycoside or glycopeptide antibiotics), low birth weight, hypoxia and length of stay. The aetiology of this increased prevalence of hearing loss remains poorly understood. Design: Here we review current practice and discuss the feasibility of designing improved ototoxicity screening and monitoring protocols to better identify acquired, drug-induced hearing loss in NICU neonates. Study sample: A review of published literature. Conclusions: We conclude that current audiological screening or monitoring protocols for neonates are not designed to adequately detect early onset of ototoxicity. This paper offers a detailed review of evidence-based research, and offers recommendations for developing and implementing an ototoxicity monitoring protocol for young infants, before and after discharge from the hospital.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language
- Speech and Hearing