Records of approximately 1,000 children seen for evaluation of developmental delay during the period July 1979 to December 1985 were reviewed; 46 children with permanent hearing loss were identified. Age at diagnosis of deafness and factors contributing to delay in diagnosis were sought. Mean age at diagnosis of profound congenital deafness was 24 months. Lesser degrees of congenital hearing loss were not diagnosed until 48 months of age. High-risk medical history or physical anomalies associated with embryologic abnormalities of the auditory system that should have triggered a prompt search for deafness went unheeded in most instances. In 40% of subjects, the author was the first to diagnose hearing loss. For two thirds of this subgroup, audiologic referral was prompted by medical, physical, or developmental findings rather than clinically evident hearing loss during physical examination. Adherence to specific historical, physical, or developmental risk criteria, regardless of the examiner's subjective impression of how well the child seems to hear, would have permitted the timely diagnosis of hearing impairment in all children in this series.
- Received February 13, 1986.
- Accepted April 21, 1986.
- Copyright © 1987 by the American Academy of Pediatrics