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Probes and Tips - July 2009 - Newborn Hearing Screening Results

the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Mangement

This newsletter provides TIPS to enhance your OAE screening and follow-up practices and PROBES about current activities so we can learn from one another's successes and challenges. Check out our website for more helpful resources: www.infanthearing.org/earlychildhood

July, 2009 issue

Tip of the Month

Obtain Newborn Hearing Screening Results and Use Them Appropriately


Among many good questions we’ve received from newsletter readers, here is one inquiring about newborn hearing screening results.  

Q: How does one get the newborn hearing exam results?  How long are those results valid? 

A: For most infants born in the U.S., a newborn hearing screening using Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) or automated auditory brainstem response (ABR) technology is performed in the hospital prior to discharge.  If a child does not pass that initial inpatient screening, sometimes an outpatient screening is also conducted.  If passing results are not obtained, then evaluation by a pediatric audiologist is needed. 

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The hospital or the state Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program often tries to provide a copy of the results to the parents and to whomever is listed on the medical record as the child’s primary health care provider.  This information exchange does not always happen consistently, however, because the health care provider on record at birth may not be the one that the family ends up using.  Therefore, the newborn hearing screening results may or may not be part of the child’s current health record.  If not, you may need to ask the parents if they have a copy of the hearing screening results or you may need to contact the hospital where the baby was born.  It is always helpful to have those early results as a baseline of the child’s hearing at birth. 

If a child did not pass the newborn screening, and his/her hearing was never tested by an audiologist, particular care is warranted to promptly complete an OAE screening in early childhood.   It is always best to conduct an OAE screening on every infant or toddler entering Head Start and annually thereafter.  It is important to remember that a child’s hearing status can change at any time as a result of injury, illness, or hereditary conditions that cause hearing loss.  If for some reason the OAE screening cannot be completed, passing results on the newborn hearing screening can be considered as valid for the first 6 -12 months of life if a child has no other risk indicators for hearing loss.

Probe of the Month

Are you able to consistently obtain the newborn hearing screening results on children entering your program?   
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