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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 19

of 'Promoting safety in children with disabilities'

Children with hearing loss and increased risk of injury.
Mann JR, Zhou L, McKee M, McDermott S
Ann Fam Med. 2007;5(6):528.
PURPOSE: Few studies have tested the hypothesis that children with sensory disabilities such as deafness may be at increased risk of injuries. To test this hypothesis, this study compared rates of emergency department or hospital treatment for injury among Medicaid-insured South Carolina children with and without a diagnosis of hearing loss.
METHODS: Medicaid billing data for 2002-2003 were obtained from the South Carolina Office of Research and Statistics. International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification billing codes were used to identify children with and without hearing loss, and episodes of injury-related emergency department or hospital treatment were compared for the 2 groups.
RESULTS: Rates of injury treatment in children with hearing loss were more than twice that of the control group (17.72 vs 8.58 per 100, respectively). The relative rate (RR) remained significantly higher (RR = 1.51, 95% confidence interval, 1.30-1.75) after adjusting for age, race, sex, and the number of hospital or emergency department encounters for treatment of non-injury-related conditions.Children with hearing loss had significantly higher treatment rates for every injury type, bodily location, and external cause, with a cell size sufficient for valid comparison.
CONCLUSIONS: Children with hearing loss may be at increased risk of injury. Additional study is needed to determine whether children with hearing loss are at increased risk (as opposed to simply seeking hospital care for injuries more often). If so, targeted injury prevention efforts for these children and their families would be warranted.
University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Family Medicine Center, Columbia, SC 29203, USA. joshua.mann@palmettohealth.org