Maternal Perspectives of Newborn Hearing Loss in Resource Constrained Settings of Rawalpindi Pakistan
Keywords:Bilateral hearing loss, Deafness, Infant, Maternal behavior, Maternal and child health, Risk factors
Objective: The objective of this study was to assess knowledge of mothers regarding risk factors, early identification, and
intervention for infant hearing loss and to determine association between hearing loss and consanguineous marriages in
Study Design: Analytical cross-sectional study.
Place and Duration of Study: Out Patient Department of tertiary care hospitals in Rawalpindi Pakistan, from Mar to Jun 2021.
Methodology: 111 mothers consented to participate. Data was collected using a structured researcher administered questionnaire. It included four sections with 37 questions that were answered in yes, no, or unsure. Analysis was done using SPSS software.
Results: Mothers' knowledge of two risk factors was high with most respondents being aware of head injury or slap to the ear (n=94) being a risk for hearing loss, followed by ear pain/discharge (n=88). 66.7%(n=72) of participants considered use of ototoxic drugs by mother during pregnancy to be a potent risk factor for neonatal hearing loss. The mothers' understanding of natal causes such as delayed birth cry and neonatal jaundice was poor. Their understanding of postnatal causes such as high fever, frequent hospitalization, and long stay in NICU was also limited. Mothers who were employed had significantly more
awareness in certain factors than housewives. 45.4% (n=49) of the mothers believed being in a cousin marriage influenced infant hearing loss while 38.9% (n=42) disagreed, and 15.7% (n=17) were unsure.
Conclusion: Only half of all participating mothers were fully aware of the possible risk factors and causes of infant hearing loss. Seminars and public awareness programs should be arranged to educate mothers about risks of infant hearing loss.