Bilateral congenital or acquired sensorineural hearing loss is a pathological condition affecting 1-2 children per 1,000 live births; it represents a major issue in public health because its late identification can negatively affect speech and language development. The aim of hearing screening is to obtain diagnosis and management of hearing loss as soon as possible; in fact early diagnosis and treatment allow children with congenital hearing impairment to acquire adequate linguistic competence. The present study reports our preliminary experience in newborn hearing screening at Neonatology services of University of Cagliari (Italy). During the first semester of surveillance, between January 2012 and June 2012, hearing screening was performed on a total of 901 babies using two different methods, TEOAEs in healthy neonates and automated ABR in high-risk babies. All infants were screened prior to hospital discharge; in some cases, especially for preterm infants of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Puericulture Institute, the screening was performed after discharge, to achieve a possible better global and acoustic maturation; 5 cases of hearing impairment were found.
In the present study the Authors confirmed that it is possible to start a universal hearing screening in a relatively short time reaching the percentages suggested by Joint Committee on Infant Hearing.