The Natural History and Rehabilitative Outcomes of Hearing Loss in Congenital Cytomegalovirus: A Systematic Review

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The purpose of this study was to examine the literature regarding the natural history and rehabilitative outcomes of sensorineural hearing loss from congenital cytomegalovirus infections.

Data Sources and Study Eligibility Criteria:

A systematic search was performed in PubMed, PsychINFO, CINAHL, and Web of Science to identify peer-reviewed research. Eligible studies were those containing original peer-reviewed research in English addressing either the natural history or rehabilitative outcomes of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV).

Study Appraisal and Synthesis Methods:

Two investigators independently reviewed all articles and extracted data. Bias was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration's tool and the Newcastle-Ottawa Assessment Scale.


Thirty-six articles were reviewed. Universal screening identifies 0.2 to 1% of newborns with cCMV infection. SNHL ranged from 8 to 32% of infants and was more prevalent in symptomatic versus asymptomatic cases. Nine to 68% of hearing loss occurs in a late or delayed fashion. In 7 to 71% of cases hearing loss is progressive. Cochlear implantation (CI) is a viable option for patients with cCMV associated hearing loss and leads to improvements in hearing and language. There is limited literature comparing rehabilitation outcomes in cCMV and non-cCMV CI recipients.


Late onset and progressive hearing loss is seen in children who develop hearing loss from cCMV. Frequent audiologic follow-up is necessary considering the natural history of cCMV hearing loss. Universal screening should be pursued due to the number of asymptomatic children, at birth, who develop late onset/delayed hearing loss. CI is an effective means of improving speech and language in this population.

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