Subject Area


Document Type

Original Study



The aim was to evaluate the incidence of hearing impairment among neonates in a rural setup and detect permanent hearing impairment of moderate to severe degree in the frequency range important for speech recognition in neonates, at earliest possible time and help to provide appropriate intervention (medical/surgical/rehabilitation) following the detection of a permanent hearing impairment.


Deafness is the most common curable childhood handicap. It is a well-recognized fact that unidentified hearing impairment can adversely affect optimal speech and language development and therefore academic, social, and emotional development. Universal neonatal hearing screening programs have been implemented in many developed countries.

Patients and methods

Our screening was done on neonates being taking care in a primary healthcare unit of the Ministry of Health and Population. This was a nonrandomized observational study done for a duration of 2 years on 1475 neonates. All neonates were screened using a two-stage protocol, with otoacoustic emission (OAE) test and final confirmation with auditory brainstem response (ABR).


A total of 1475 neonates were screened, of whom 374 failed and 1101 passed in the first OAE test and 124 failed and 211 passed in the second OAE. Then, ABR was done for 28 babies, and finally, about six babies with complete hearing loss (HL) were confirmed by ABR. Our screening was done to determine the incidence of permanent HL of moderate to severe variety. The incidence of hearing impairment was 4 per 1000 newborns screened.


This study helped in early detection of HL and early intervention of cases.