A study in Israel has found that there is an increased likelihood of babies delivered via caesarean failing their initial hearing test.
Traditionally this test is carried out on babies within the first 24 hours of delivery, but the study reveals that around 20% of babies delivered by caesarean are likely to fail this test, as compared to only 7% of those delivered vaginally. (Though it is worth noting that the failure rate is higher in general for all babies tested within the first 24 hours).
However, and it is a BIG however, the study showed that on re-testing the results normalised over subsequent days and most of these same babies then went on to pass the hearing test. Within the group (10/483) that continued to fail, 5 were caesarean deliveries and 5 were vaginal deliveries and with further testing the majority of these tested subsequently passed too.
What this study shows is that “There is nothing worrisome here for parents” so says Dr Woo, a paediatrician at the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Centre in Santa Monica. The problem is often transient, and if the first test were done three or four days after birth instead, the results would likely be very different.
At the very least parents should be aware of this ‘effect’ and ideally defer the first hearing test until after the first 48 hours to avoid the worry that may be caused by early testing.