Age of diagnosis for congenital hearing loss at Universitas Hospital, Bloemfontein
AbstractBackground. Congenital hearing loss affects 3 - 6/1 000 children worldwide. The benefits of early identification of hearing loss and early intervention have been clearly established. There are no previous studies reporting on the age of diagnosis of congenital hearing loss in the Free State province.
Objectives. To determine the age of diagnosis of congenital hearing loss in the Otorhinolaryngology Clinic at Universitas Hospital. Secondary aims included determining age at first visit, as well as the time delay between first visit and diagnosis, and documenting any interventions which took place.
Methods. A retrospective, descriptive study was undertaken, analysing data from 2001 to 2010.
Results. A total of 260 cases of congenital hearing loss were analysed. The median age of diagnosis of hearing loss was 44.5 months. The median age of first visit was 40.9 months, and the median delay between first visit and diagnosis was 49 days.
Conclusions. The median age of diagnosis far exceeds national and international benchmarks. This has a profoundly negative impact on the development and outcomes of children with hearing loss. These results have been used to motivate for the expansion of hearing screening and diagnostic services in the province.
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