Auditory maturation in premature infants: A potential pitfall for early cochlear implantation

Janny R. Hof*, Robert J. Stokroos, Eduard Wix, Mickey Chenault, Els Gelders, Jan Brokx

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives/Hypothesis To describe spontaneous hearing improvement in the first years of life of a number of preterm neonates relative to cochlear implant candidacy. Study Design Retrospective case study. Methods Hearing levels of 14 preterm neonates (mean gestational age at birth=29 weeks) referred after newborn hearing screening were evaluated. Initial hearing thresholds ranged from 40 to 105 dBHL (mean=85 dBHL). Results Hearing level improved to normal levels for four neonates and to moderate levels for five, whereas for five neonates, no improvement in hearing thresholds was observed and cochlear implantation was recommended. Three of the four neonates in whom the hearing improved to normal levels were born prior to 28 weeks gestational age. Hearing improvement was mainly observed prior to a gestational age of 80 weeks. Conclusions Delayed maturation of an immature auditory pathway might be an important reason for referral after newborn hearing screening in premature infants. Caution is advised regarding early cochlear implantation in preterm born infants. Audiological follow-ups until at least 80 weeks gestational age are therefore recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2013-2018
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


  • Newborn hearing screening
  • cochlear implantation
  • auditory pathway
  • maturation


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