Testing: Hearing Loss

Health Watch is a public service of the University News Bureau and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.



Before doctors can treat disease, they have to diagnose it. This week on Health Watch, we’ll talk about some medical tests that can detect diseases and disorders for better treatment. Testing an infant’s saliva can help doctors know which infants may be at risk for hearing loss.

Cytomegalovirus, or CMV, is the most common infection passed from a mother to her unborn child, and it’s a major cause of hearing loss in children. Up to half of all children infected with CMV may develop hearing loss. Now doctors can tell with great accuracy which infants are infected by testing the saliva of newborns.

Dr. Pablo Sanchez, a pediatrician at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says this test is important because most newborns don’t show symptoms of infection. Babies who test positive for the infection can be monitored for signs of hearing loss so appropriate intervention can begin as soon as possible to prevent any delays in language development.

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December 2011

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