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Fetal Noise Protection - Colucci

Make Fetal Noise Protection Part of Audiology Care

By Dennis A. Colucci, AuD, MA



High noise levels can lead to hearing loss and developmental consequences for fetuses and newborns. Given that the impact of minimal hearing loss on educational, social, and emotional development are well known, a closer review of the noise exposures of pregnant women and newborn babies should be part of audiological care and counseling.


In 1997, the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Environmental Health reported the potential for noise- induced hearing loss and other health effects in fetuses and newborns (Pediatrics 1997;100[4]:724-727).


More recently, research on noise exposure of preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit has shown adverse effects for hearing, brain development, and physiological changes (Ann N Y Acad Sci 2012;1252:17-24).


Other than animal studies and consensus group recommendations, though, recent literature on fetal noise exposure is seriously lacking. However, the paucity of data does not mean the fetus is safe from these risks.

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