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Study: C-Section Babies More Likely to Fail First Hearing Test


After hearing your baby’s first cries, and counting to ensure she has the standard ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes, your newborn will likely undergo an array of tests during her first few days of life, including one to assess her hearing. A new study out of Israel, published online earlier this week in Pediatrics, found that babies delivered by cesarean section are three times more likely to fail their initial hearing test (known as the otoacoustic emissions test) than those delivered vaginally, reports HealthDay.

Plus: When Baby Has a Hearing Problem

Researchers evaluated 1,653 newborns for the study, of which 483 were delivered via c-section, and the remaining 1,170 delivered vaginally. Nearly 21 percent of the c-section babies failed the test, which was done before the babies were 48 hours old; just 7 percent of the babies delivered vaginally failed.

With c-sections accounting for about one-third of US births, many families may worry about their newborns failing these hearing tests. Fortunately, doctors say that these hearing issues are usually temporary and are not necessarily a cause for concern. One possible reason for the temporary hearing difficulty is fluid in the middle ear, which may be naturally expended during vaginal births, but which may be retained during a cesarean birth.

Plus: Is Your Baby’s Hearing Developing Normally?

The researchers recommended delaying the first hearing test after c-section until the baby is more than 48 hours old for the best chance at normal results the first time around. 

Did your baby fail any initial tests only later to report normal levels? Were your children delivered via c-section?