Arkansas Hearing Screening Requirements for Newborns and School-Aged Children
The following information summarizes hearing screening programs for newborns and school-aged children.
This information has been collected by researching individual state statutes, regulations and policy documents, and by contacting each state. 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.
Every birthing hospital in this state with more than fifty (50) births per year shall provide or arrange for a bilateral physiological hearing screening on each birth admission. Hospitals with fifty (50) or fewer births per year which elect to provide bilateral physiological hearing screenings are subject to the same provisions.
Each hospital shall make a reasonable effort, prior to discharge, to rescreen newborns who do not pass the initial screening.
Each hospital shall provide written results of the initial hearing screening or parent refusal to the child's primary care physician within 14 days of discharge.
Each hospital shall disseminate written information provided by the Department of Health to the parent prior to discharge, including locations at which audiological follow-up care and follow-up screening can be obtained by the parent or guardian of the newborn and infant.
The state Department of Health will collaborate with the Department of Human Services and the Department of Education to coordinate early educational and rehabilitative services for newborns and infants identified with hearing loss.
Each hospital shall calibrate the hearing screening equipment on at least an annual basis or as recommended by manufacturer guidelines.
Each hospital shall forward test results on a screening report to the Department of Health by the 15th day of the month following the month in which the test was conducted.
Each hospital shall report to the Department of Health, on an annual basis on July 1, and to amend any information within 30 days of a change, the following:
- the name of the person designated as the single point of contact;
- name of advising audiologist;
- equipment utilized;
- equipment calibration records;
- whether the hearing screening program is conducted with hospital personnel or is contracted to an outside entity;
- name of person(s) providing staff training on the equipment;
- name(s) of persons competent to perform hearing screenings within the hospital;
- screening protocols;
- test procedures used by the facility's newborn hearing screening program;
- pass criteria that minimally meet guidelines established by the Board; and
- a description of the quality/performance improvement program.
Guidelines indicate pre-K, kindergarten, grades 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8, transfer students, special education students, and teacher referrals.
Who Can Screen
The board of directors of any school district in the state may assign a physician or nurse to the public schools for the purpose of making physical examinations, including hearing, of the pupils of the schools.
Training for Screeners
Training for screeners is not addressed in laws/regulations.
Type of Testing
Guidelines indicate pure tone screening 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hertz at 20 decibels.
Equipment standards are not addressed in laws/regulations.
Follow-up Protocols & Documentation
Guidelines indicate the screener should:
- Refer immediately if observation shows physical abnormality
- Refer to a physician if child fails rescreen
- May immediately refer if child does not pass and there is serious concern regarding hearing or speech/language
- Refer to a physician if child passes, but there is concern regarding hearing
- Send a letter
- Send a second letter or make personal contact if needed
- Have financial assistance information available
- Have list of appropriate professionals available
- Review information received back from examining professional
- Rescreen after medical treatment
- Involve special education personnel if necessary
The information contained herein was collected and summarized annually. For detailed information on hearing screening requirements, visit these websites:
Newborn Screening Statute: Ark. Code Ann. §20-15-1501
Newborn Screening Regulations [PDF]
School-Age Screening Statute: Ark. Code Ann. §6-18-701
Questions regarding this document? Call ASHA at 800-498-2071 and ask for the State Advocacy Team.