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C-Section Babies May Be More Likely to Fail First Hearing Test
Date:6/12/2012

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Infants delivered by Cesarean section are three times more likely than babies delivered vaginally to fail their first hearing test, which is performed shortly after birth, new research from Israel finds.

However, the researchers noted that parents should be aware of this difference, but not alarmed, because this hearing "problem" is typically temporary.

Dr. Tatiana Smolkin, a neonatal researcher at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel, who worked on the study, said the loss generally disappears after 72 hours.

"Fluids are retained in the middle ear," which seems to affect neonatal hearing, she explained.

U.S. experts agreed that parents should take the information in stride.

"I think the take-home message is if you have had a C-section be prepared there is a higher chance your baby is going to fail one of these hearing tests, whether or not they have a hearing loss," said Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, chair of otolaryngology at SUNY Downstate, in Brooklyn, N.Y. He co-chaired the committee that crafted the American Academy of Pediatrics' guidelines on the management of the middle ear problem known as otitis media with effusion.

Dr. Dennis Woo, a pediatrician at the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center in Santa Monica, said the problem is often transient, and if the testing were done three or four days after birth, the results would likely be very different.

"There is nothing worrisome here as far as for the parents," Woo said.

To be sure, parents need to follow up with the baby's pediatrician, the doctors agreed.

For the study, the Israeli researchers evaluated 1,653 newborns. Of these, 1,170 were delivered vaginally; the other 483 by C-section.

They looked at the babies' results on their first hearing test, known as the otoacoustic emissions test.

Otoacoustic emissions are sound
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