A multisite study to examine the efficacy of the otoacousticemission/automated auditory brainstem response newborn hearing screening protocol: Results of visualreinforcement audiometry

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American Journal of Audiology






by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

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Purpose: This 3rd of 4 articles on a study of the efficacy of the 2-stage otoacoustic emission/automated auditory brainstem response (OAE/A-ABR) newborn hearing screening protocol describes (a) the behavioral audiometric protocol used to validate hearing status at 8-12 months of age, (b) the hearing status of the sample, and (c) the success of the visual reinforcement audiometry (VRA) protocol across 7 sites.

Method: A total of 973 infants who failed OAE but passed A-ABR, in one or both ears, during newborn screening were tested with a VRA protocol, supplemented by tympanometry and OAE screening at age 8-12 months.

Results: VRA audiograms (1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 kHz) were obtained for 1,184 (82.7%) of the 1,432 study ears. Hearing loss was ruled out in another 100 ears by VRA in combination with OAE, for a total of 88.7% of the study sample. Permanent hearing loss was identified in 30 ears of 21 infants. Sites differed in their success with the VRA protocol.

Conclusions: Continued monitoring of hearing beyond the newborn period is an important component of early detection of hearing loss. Using a structured protocol, VRA is an appropriate test method for most, but not all, infants. A battery of test procedures is often needed to adequately delineate hearing loss in infants. Examiner experience appears to be a factor in successful VRA.