Parental Request to Withhold a Hearing Test in a Newborn of Deaf Parents


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Abstract

CASEWhen the pediatrician went to examine Jenny at 1 day of age in the hospital, she was not surprised to find a healthy, full-term neonate with a normal physical examination, including a normal developmental assessment. She was responsive and robust with wide open eyes that engaged her mother and the pediatrician.A review of the medical records revealed that both parents were significantly hearing-impaired. Jenny's mother had a familial form of congenital neurosensory deafness. Both maternal grandparents had the same condition. Her mother learned to sign at an early age and completed a college degree. Jenny's father acquired his deaf condition at 6 years of age after an episode of viral encephalitis. He communicated through sign language and was a successful administrator.When the pediatrician suggested a hearing test (brainstem auditory evoked potential), Jenny's mother, who was able to use spoken language as well as sign language, responded with a soft smile. “I don't think that will be necessary. We will know if she can hear in a short time.”

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