Women with Hearing Loss More Likely to Have Preterm or Low Birth Weight Babies

According to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, babies born to women with hearing loss were significantly more likely to be premature and have low birth weight. Around one percent of people in the U.S. who are 18 to 44 years old have hearing loss of various types, severity, pattern, and age of onset. This issue makes many aspects of life more difficult, because there is poor communication between healthcare providers and those who suffer from hearing loss.

“There have not yet been any population-based studies about pregnancy experiences and outcomes among women with hearing loss, although a recent study of deaf women’s experiences with prenatal care found they were less satisfied with their care and were more likely to have fewer prenatal visits than hearing women,” said the lead investigator. “We therefore set out to investigate birth outcomes among women with hearing loss.”

Of nearly 18 million deliveries from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), about 10,500 were among women with hearing loss. Babies born to women with hearing loss were significantly more likely to have preterm birth and low birth weight.

“A recent perinatal health framework developed by our team identified a set of individual and mediating factors that may impact maternal and birth outcomes for women with physical disabilities. Mediating factors, for example, include provider knowledge and attitudes toward pregnancy, family support, and psychosocial factors such as stressful life events. Although these factors are not identifiable in the HCUP data, this framework may be also applicable to women with hearing loss,” said the researcher. “Given the earlier studies on patient-provider communication, potential biological factors, interpersonal violence, and health knowledge and health literacy among people with hearing loss, and the general dissatisfaction of people with hearing loss with their healthcare, these factors could potentially explain the poor birth outcomes found in this study.”

This study helps bring awareness to the indirect effects of hearing loss.


raziRazi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.

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