Birth Facilities

Hospitals and birth centers perform hearing screenings on newborns before discharge. If a newborn does not pass the hearing screening, a follow-up screening is performed before discharge or as an outpatient. It is the responsibility of the hospital, birth center or midwife to have a hearing screening performed on newborns and a follow-up screening performed on newborns that do not pass the initial hearing screening no later than one month of age.

What are the guidelines for conducting hearing screenings in the neonatal (well-baby) nursery or birth center?

  • Test the newborn no sooner than 12 hours after birth.
  • Choose a time when the infant is not being seen by other health care professionals.
  • Test when infants are quiet or sleeping; optimally, one hour following feeding.
  • To help calm a restless infant, swaddle the infant and dim the lights
  • Select a time when the infant is medically stable
  • Ensure a quiet environment for testing, away from background noise
  • Follow standard precautions for infection control (e.g. hand washing, appropriate cleansing of equipment, etc).

View the complete Newborn Hearing Screening Guidelines

What are the guidelines for conducting hearing screenings in the NICU?

Since the incidence of sensory, as well as neural hearing loss is approximately ten-times higher in the NICU versus well-baby nursery, A-ABR is the recommended screening technology for use in the NICU population (JCIH 2007).

If a newborn does not pass his/her hearing screening, is it acceptable to repeat the screening more than one time?

If a newborn does not pass the screening, it is acceptable to repeat the screening one time during the same session using the same technology, especially in those cases when the recording conditions were not optimal either due to timing, noise conditions, or state of the newborn.

What is the responsibility of the birth facility for newborns that did not receive a hearing screening before discharge?

An infant that does not complete an initial hearing screening for any reason should be scheduled for an appointment to return to the birth facility for completion of the hearing screening. 

How should the birth facility inform parents of the newborn hearing screening results?

The person performing the hearing screening should give parents the following information in clear, non-technical terms and in the native language of the family:

What information should be sent to the PA Department of Health and when does it need to be sent?

Hospitals, birth centers and midwives are to notify the PA Department of Health of the hearing screening results of every newborn.

What is the responsibility of the birth facility to communicate newborn hearing screening results to primary care providers?

The primary care provider is to be notified of the results of the newborn hearing screening.

What are the risk factors for late-onset and early childhood hearing loss?

Here is a list of the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH) 2007 Risk Indicators for Permanent Early Onset and Late Progressive Hearing Loss in Childhood:

EHDI Best Practices for Newborn Hearing Screening and Follow Up in Birth Facilities

Read the EHDI Best Practices for Newborn Hearing Screening and Follow Up in Birth Facilities:

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Download a PDF of the EHDI Best Practices for Newborn Hearing Screening and Follow Up

The Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention Program of the PA Department of Health (PA DOH) works with birth facilities to ensure that all newborns receive a hearing screening no later than 1 month of age. Birth facilities report newborns who did not pass their hearing screening or did not receive a newborn hearing screening to PA DOH for follow-up. Birth facilities also report newborn hearing screening results to the baby’s primary care physician for follow-up.

Find out more about the Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention Program

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