Neonatal Screening Outcomes for Natural vs Caesarian Section Delivery

Mr Ian Henderson1, Mrs Suzie Costello, Ms Courtney Ayres

1Earbus Foundation Of WA, Ardross, Australia

Varying levels of amniotic fluid, vernix, mucous and other debris typically remain in the newborn’s body. This includes the ear canal and middle ear. Drainage/elimination of these bodily fluids is considered to result from i) thoracic compression during vaginal delivery; ii) hormonal changes during labour; and ii) resorption of water by osmosis. It has been proposed that delivery by Caesarian Section, particularly in the absence of labour, results in a delay in the drainage process. One study in Israel reports an increase in OAE screening “refer” results in babies delivered by C Section. It is suggested such children are born with a conductive hearing loss; and that this clears sufficiently for valid assessment by 48 hours. This paper will report on the neonatal screening results of children delivered naturally vs by C Section at 2 Perth private hospitals. Data is to be collected by NBHS screeners of Earbus Foundation of WA. In addition to screening differences associated with delivery type, this paper will explore ideal post-birth timing for screening, plus implications for OAE vs AABR measures.


Ian is a Paediatric Audiologist with 30 years experience in Australia, the Asia Pacific, Canada and Africa. At Earbus Foundation of WA he is part of the team which assesses and diagnoses newborns and older children.