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Epidemiol Health. 2018;40(1):e2018044. English. Original Article. https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2018044
Chung YS , Park SK .
Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Gyengju Hospital, Dongguk University College of Medicine, Gyengju, Korea.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Kangnam Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. ashock@daum.net
Abstract

OBJECTIVES

The aim of this study was to analyze the current status and problems of hearing screening tests for newborns in low-income families in the southeastern Korea.

METHODS

This study analyzed data from the Ministry of Health and Welfare's project on the early detection of hearing loss in newborns in low-income families in the southeastern Korea (2011-2015).

RESULTS

The referral rate was 1.33, 1.69, and 1.27% in Daegu, Gyeongbuk, and Ulsan, respectively. The confirmatory test rate was 36.09, 23.38, and 52.94% in Daegu, Gyeongbuk, and Ulsan, respectively. The incidence of hearing loss (adjusted) was 0.41, 0.62, and 0.41% in Daegu, Gyeongbuk, and Ulsan, respectively. After confirming hearing loss, newborns with hearing handicaps were mostly lost to follow-up, and rehabilitation methods, such as hearing aids or cochlear implants, were not used. The screening tests were performed within 1 month of birth, and the confirmatory tests were generally performed within 3 months of birth. However, more than 3 months passed before the confirmatory tests were performed in infants with risk factors for hearing loss in Gyeongbuk and Ulsan.

CONCLUSIONS

Hearing screening tests were conducted in newborns from low-income families in southeastern Korea who received a coupon for free testing, but the newborns that were referred after the screening tests were not promptly linked to the hospitals where confirmatory tests were performed. Furthermore, hearing rehabilitation was not consistently performed after hearing loss was confirmed. To successful early hearing loss detection and intervention, a systematic tracking system of hearing loss children is needed.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.