Risk of hearing loss higher for kids who undergo heart surgeries

A study says that children who undergo heart surgery as babies are more vulnerable to hearing loss and associated risks for language, attention and cognitive problems, by the age of four years.

At a single-center of 348 preschoolers who survived cardiac surgery, researchers found hearing loss in about 21%, which is 20 times higher than is found in the general population.

Researchers recommend that children who undergo heart surgery have their hearing checked from the age of 24-30 months, to increase their chances of receiving medical help on time.

The study underlines how early detection and intervention can reduce later problems in neurodevelopment.

Survivors of heart surgeries are known to have an increased risk of neurodevelopmental conditions, including learning disabilities. This is the first study to focus on hearing loss and its impact on neurodevelopment in this population.

Some possible factors for hearing loss include high-frequency noises in intensive care units and exposure to medications with side effects that damage hearing.Any child who undergoes cardiac surgery by six months of age should have at least one audiologic evaluation by 24-30 months of age, to identify hearing loss.

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