Hearing loss diagnosis followed by meningitis in Danish children, 1995-2004
A higher risk of meningitis associated with cochlear implants may be explained in part by a generally higher risk of meningitis in children with severe to profound hearing loss. We investigated whether children with hearing loss have an increased risk of meningitis.
A historical cohort study of all children born in Denmark between January 1, 1995, and December 31, 2004, was conducted. The cohort was selected through the Danish Medical Birth Registry, and information on hearing loss and meningitis was obtained from the National Hospital Registry.
We identified 39 children with both hearing loss and meningitis. Of these children, five were diagnosed first with hearing loss and later with meningitis. The relative risk of meningitis in the group of children with a hearing loss diagnosis, as compared with the non-hearing loss group, was 5.0 (95% CI, 2.0 to 12.0).
The study provides evidence for an association between hearing loss and the development of meningitis. Parents and health care providers of children with hearing loss should be more alert for possible signs and symptoms of meningitis, and vaccination should be considered.
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