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Hearing Loss

Its Been Only Days

Dear Dr Bartels,

Its been only three days since you performed the operation and stereophonic sound indeed!!  I'm hearing all kinds of noises which I haven't noticed in years -- what's this humming, what's that there -- is something wrong with the car?  No there isn't -- I can hear!!!

Thank you, thank you so very much.  You have changed my life.  I'm so grateful.  You'll be in my prayers always. God bless you.



Maternal prenatal smoking and hearing loss among adolescents

The following is a summary of published literature on a specific ear related topic. The reference to the original publication is found at the end of this summary.

Although smoking and secondhand smoke exposure are associated with sensory hearing loss in children and adults, the possible association between prenatal smoke exposure and hearing loss had not previously been investigated. More than 12% of US children experience prenatal exposure to nicotine. Hearing test data were examined for 964 adolescents aged 12 to 15 years from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006. All children had undergone standardized audiometric testing. Blood tests and self-reports were used to identify adolescents exposed to secondhand smoke or active smokers. Prenatal exposure was defined as an affirmative parental response to, “Did the biological mother smoke at any time while she was pregnant with the child?” Standard criteria were used to define hearing loss.

Study Results: Parental responses affirmed prenatal smoke exposure in 16.2% of 964 adolescents. Prenatal smoke exposure was associated with at least some degree of hearing loss in the high frequencies. As well, prenatal tobacco exposed children had a higher rate of single sided low-frequency sensory hearing loss.

Conclusions and Relevance. Prenatal smoke exposure is independently associated with higher pure-tone hearing thresholds and an almost 3-fold increase in the odds of unilateral low-frequency hearing loss among adolescents. These findings suggest that in utero exposure to tobacco smoke may be injurious to the auditory system.

Read the original article: [1]


  1. Maternal prenatal smoking and hearing loss among adolescents., Weitzman, Michael, Govil Nandini, Liu Ying Hua, and Lalwani Anil K. , JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg, 2013 Jul, Volume 139, Issue 7, p.669-77, (2013)

Children With Sensorineural Hearing Loss After Passing the Newborn Hearing Screen

The following is a summary of published literature on a specific ear related topic. The reference to the original publication is found at the end of this summary.

The authors analyzed the findings of children who passed their newborn hearing screen and were subsequently found to have childhood hearing loss. They identified 923 children with hearing loss from 2001 to 2011. Of that number 78 were found who had passed the newborn hearing screening hearing test.

The suspicion of hearing loss was raised by parental concerns in 28 [36%] and by failed school hearing screens in 25 [32%]. Speech and language delay and failed primary care physician screens accounted for 17% and 12%, respectively. Audiogram results were bilaterally symmetric in 42 [54%], asymmetric in 16 [21%]), and unilateral in 20 [26%]. Thirty-seven patients (47%) had severe or profound hearing loss. The cause was unknown in 42 patients (54%); the remaining was attributed to genetics in 13 [17%], anatomic abnormality in 11 [14%], acquired since birth in = 9 [12%], and related to auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder in 3 [4%].

Conclusions: This large study identified children who were later found to have hearing loss in spite of passing the newborn hearing screening test. Parental concerns and school hearing screens were the most common method to diagnose the hearing loss. Families and primary care physicians may have a false sense of security when infants pass newborn hearing screening testing and may overlook symptoms of hearing loss. This study suggests that 8.4% of children who have hearing loss are not discovered with newborn hearing screening. This study raises the question whether further screens would identify hearing loss in children after passing the NHS.

Read the original article: [1]


  1. Children with sensorineural hearing loss after passing the newborn hearing screen., Dedhia, Kavita, Kitsko Dennis, Sabo Diane, and Chi David H. , JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg, 2013 Feb, Volume 139, Issue 2, p.119-23, (2013)
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