How common is hearing loss in newborns? While most newborns are fine, about one in 200 are born with congenital cytomegalovirus, or CMV. About 10% of these babies present with indicators of infection such as rashes, jaundice, small heads, low birth weight, seizures or a few other issues. Many of them don’t show any sign of infection. Without strong screening protocols, these babies can fall through the cracks.
“CHA reevaluated our screening procedures in 2020 and put systems in place to ensure all babies are screened for congenital CMV,” said Kimberlee Chatson, MD, FAAP, a Neonatologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Medical Director of CHA’s Continuing Care Nursery. “We are now 100% compliant with this work. In the past few months, we identified CMV positive infants who have gone on to receive treatment.”
If congenital CMV is not found early, one in five babies may face long term health problems like hearing loss. Hearing loss can progress from mild to severe during the first two years of life - a critical time for language development. Early interventions may decrease the severity of hearing loss and offer support services to allow children to reach their full potential. CHA’s protocols are a part of what make us a safe place to have your baby.