Birth Facilities

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).

The neonatologist and/or the PCP should be consulted to determine the most appropriate opportunity for hearing screening. Babies should be screened several days prior to discharge to assure the hearing screening occurs.

The A-ABR, however, should not be completed before the infant is 32 weeks gestational age because it tends to generate more referrals for diagnostic testing and therefore screening should be delayed until the baby has reached this age.

For those infants transferred between facilities, the facility discharging the baby to home is responsible for completing the screening, arranging any necessary follow-up, and reporting the outcome to the Department of Health.

Any NICU infant who fails initial A-ABR neonatal hearing screening should receive direct referral to an audiologist for a diagnostic audiologic evaluation that includes a diagnostic ABR (JCIH 2007).

View the complete Newborn Hearing Screening Program Guidelines

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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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