Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Ann M. Mayo, DSNc, RN, CNS, FAAN, Chairperson Eileen Fry-Bowers, PhD, JD, RN, CPNP, Member Kathy Marsh, PhD, RN, CNS, Member


auditory function, high risk infant, hospital construction, newborn hearing, NICU, noise


Purpose: To determine the difference in auditory function at NICU discharge between those high risk infant cases exposed to hospital construction during NICU stay and those not exposed.

Background: Noise produced by routine NICU caregiving exceeds recommended intensity. As California hospitals undergo construction to meet seismic safety regulations, vulnerable neonates are potentially exposed to even higher levels of noise. Ramifications are unknown.

Methods: A retrospective data-based descriptive comparative cohort design was used to compare high risk infant auditory function at NICU discharge between hospital construction exposed and unexposed groups. Sample size: n = 540 infant cases (243 construction exposed; 297 unexposed controls). Inclusion criteria: infant cases born and discharged from the study site NICU in the year 2010 (unexposed) and year 2015 (exposed) and received a newborn hearing screening by automated auditory brainstem evoked response (ABER) prior to discharge with results reported. Infant cases excluded: infant cases with hearing screen results by ABER unavailable; potentially confounding characteristics (congenital infection, major anomalies including cleft lip and/or palate), and transferred into or out of the study site. Instrumentation: ABER. Analysis: (SPSS 24.0) descriptive statistics; hypothesis testing; correlation.

Results: The difference in auditory function at NICU discharge between high risk infant cases exposed to hospital construction noise and those not exposed was insignificant (X2 = 1.666, df = 4, p = 0.1968, 95% CI = -0.635 to 2.570).

Conclusions: More research is needed to better understand if hospital construction exposure in the NICU negatively affects high risk infant auditory function.

Document Type

Dissertation: USD Users Only