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Impact of newborn hearing screening

Comparing outcomes in pediatric cochlear implant users


  • Some of these findings were presented at the 8th International Conference of the European Society of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, Budapest, Hungary, June 11, 2008 and at the Newborn Hearing Screening Conference, Cernobbio, Italy, June 19, 2008.



To evaluate the impact of a newborn hearing screening program on the management and outcome of deaf children and to identify underlying factors that may be responsible for the differences between high and low performing implanted children.

Study Design:

Retrospective cohort study of 391 implanted children in Flanders (Belgium).


First, implanted children were sorted into two groups on account of screening age (early screened, n = 195 vs. late screened, n = 196). Both groups were compared with respect to several variables. Second, outcome of cochlear implantation was measured in terms of the child's speech perception and production skills (n = 355). A subgroup of high performing cochlear implant (CI) users was compared with low performing CI users with regard to several variables.


Early screened children differ significantly from late screened children with respect to age of hearing loss detection and age at cochlear implantation. Furthermore, early screening and implantation is associated with better auditory receptive skills and speech intelligibility. Additional impairments negatively influence both receptive and productive skills. In addition, children who communicate orally and wear bilateral cochlear implants perform better on speech production, whereas a better speech perception was found in children who became progressively deaf as opposed to congenitally deaf children.


The results of this extensive study of profoundly deaf children with CIs in Flanders indicate that a newborn hearing screening program results in earlier intervention in deaf children, which beneficially influences the auditory receptive skills and speech intelligibility. Laryngoscope, 2009