Nominated From: University of Washington
Research Site: Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos
Research Area: Otolaryngology/Pediatrics
Primary Mentor: Joseph Zunt
Universal newborn hearing screening in a resource-constrained setting: Experience at a major maternity and pediatric hospital in Lima, Peru
Hearing loss is a cause for major morbidity worldwide, with nearly 23 million children affected. Congenital sensorineural hearing loss contributes to adverse outcomes in language and speech acquisition, school achievement and social interaction in children, which can be mitigated with proper resources if the diagnosis is recognized early. Socioeconomic status and poverty have been linked to hearing loss in adolescents in Peru, though it is unclear which risk factors play the largest role in receiving a diagnosis of congenital hearing loss. We will determine the incidence and prevalence, as well as risk factors for congenital hearing impairment in newborns by partnering with a large local hospital in Lima, Peru. We will also attempt to characterize rates of screening, follow-up, diagnosis, and other correlated factors in this population. In addition, we will endeavor to understand the knowledge, beliefs and challenges faced by parents of newborns who may receive this diagnosis.
Our research will extend our current understanding of hearing loss in Peru by demonstrating the scope of congenital hearing impairment in a large dataset with representation from across the country, identifying risk factors within this population, and demonstrating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon screening practices. Furthermore, understanding attitudes surrounding hearing loss in Peruvian families will provide useful data for the area which may help regional hospitals increase education, illuminate challenges faced by families with hearing impaired children, and inform strategies to improve follow-up. While this information will be valuable to local hospital officials, it can also benefit other underserved populations who may face similar challenges in settings with more extensive resources available.