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HEARING DISORDERS – PART OF FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) (1-2/1000 newborns), resulting from maternal consumption of alcohol early in the pregnancy, consists in: persistent growth failure, low weight, microcephaly, characteristic facial features, congenital heart diseases (especially septal defects), minor anomalies of joints and limbs, disorders of central nervous system development and function. The complexity, severity and frequency of the anomalies depends on the amount of the ingested alcohol associated or not with other risk factors: low socio-economic level, psychologic disturbances, smoking, drugs. Hearing disorders determined by maternal alcohol consumption, although not classically included in the FAS, and also chronic ear infections, are associated in variable severity degrees. Audiologic procedures performed in FAS children revealed four main hearing disorders: delayed development of auditory function associated with language disorders, sensorineural hearing loss (disorders of middle ear and conductive system), intermittent loss of sound vibrations conduction, hearing loss by central auditory nervous system deficits. Early detection of hearing anomalies alleviates the prognosis by early interventions.
Keywords: alcohol, pregnancy, hearing loss.
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