Alaska Hearing Screening Requirements for Newborns and School-Aged Children
The following information summarizes hearing screening programs for newborns and school-aged children.
The information has been collected by researching individual state statutes, regulations, policy documents, and by contacting each state. The information is reviewed on an annual basis. Please be advised that regulations and policy may change at any time, so always check with your state for the most up-to-date information.
The physician or the person attending the newborn child in a hospital in this state shall cause the child to be screened to determine whether the child has a potential hearing impairment. The screening shall occur before the newborn is released from the hospital or before the infant is 30 days old, whichever is earlier. Each birthing center that provides maternity and newborn care services or hospital that averages less than 20 births per year shall provide that each newborn in the center's care is referred for an appointment to a licensed audiologist or to a hospital or other newborn hearing screening provider before discharge. The screening shall occur before the infant is 30 days old.
If it is determined by screening that a newborn child may have a hearing impairment, the physician or other person who is required to cause the child to be screened shall
- refer the child for confirmatory diagnostic evaluation;
- make reasonable efforts to promptly notify the child's parent that the child may have a hearing impairment and explain to the parent the potential effect of the impairment on the development of the child's speech and language skills and psychosocial and cognitive development; and
- notify the department of the hearing screening results on a form approved by the department.
When the Bureau of Vital Statistics receives a certificate of live birth for a newborn who was delivered at a place other than a hospital, the bureau shall notify the department employees who administer the newborn screening program. The department employees shall notify the child's parents of the merits of having a hearing screening performed, and the department shall provide information to the parents to assist the parents in accomplishing the hearing screening within 30 days after the child's birth.
At a minimum, the protocols must include the use of at least one of the following physiologic technologies: automated or diagnostic auditory brainstem response (ABR) or otoacoustic emissions (OAE). The department shall consider updating the protocols as information is provided to the department that new physiologic technologies or improvements to existing physiologic technologies will substantially enhance newborn and infant hearing assessment.
Hearing screening information must be reported at least weekly, using the reporting and tracking system developed by the department, and includes:
- the name of the child;
- the child's date of birth and gender;
- the identifier for the facility where the child was born;
- the identifier for the facility where the child was screened, if that facility is not the facility where the child was born;
- the name of the child's mother;
- the name of the primary care provider;
- demographic information;
- the child's risk factors for hearing loss;
- the results of the hearing screening;
- if the hearing screening was not completed, the status of the screening; if the parent objected to the screening for religious reasons, a copy of the signed statement of refusal must be included; and
- any additional information that the department considers necessary to match the results or status of newborn metabolic disorder screening with the appropriate child reported under the newborn hearing screening program.
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health
At school entry and at regular intervals as specified
Who Can Screen
Trained/certified public health nurses and school district employees
Training for Screeners
The Department of Health and Social Services will train and certify screeners.
Type of Testing
The Department of Health and Social Services will set standards.
The Department of Health and Social Services will assist with maintenance and repair of screening equipment.
Follow-up Protocols and Documentation
The Department of Health and Social Services will assist with referral and follow-up of children needing professional examination or treatment.
Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health
For further information on hearing screening requirements, visit these websites:
Questions regarding state advocacy issues? Call ASHA at 800-498-2071 and ask for the State Advocacy Team.