American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Massachusetts 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.

Newborn Screening

Screening

A hearing screening test shall be performed on all newborn infants in the commonwealth in the birthing hospital or birthing center, or in the hospital from which the newborn infant is discharged to home.

Intervention

The birth hospital or birth center shall inform, orally and in writing, a parent or guardian of the newborn infant if the infant did not pass the screening. This information shall also be provided in writing to the newborn infant's primary care physician as well as to the Department of Health through its electronic birth certificate system or such mechanism as specified by the Department of Health.

The birth hospital or birth center so informing the parent or guardian and physician shall provide written information to the parent or guardian and physician regarding appropriate follow-up for an infant who did not pass the screening. This information shall include at a minimum the time and location of the diagnostic test appointment that has been scheduled, the telephone number of the diagnostic test site, a list of diagnostic test centers approved by the Department of Health, as well as information about the importance of follow-up. The information shall be provided to the parent or guardian in writing in the language understood by the parent or guardian.

Standards/Protocols

Each birth hospital and birth center must submit to the Department of Health for its approval a protocol for newborn hearing screening.

Tracking/Reporting

Each birth hospital and birth center shall submit to the Department of Health for its approval a protocol for newborn hearing screening.

School-Age Screening

Ages/Populations Screened

The school committee or board of health shall cause the hearing of each student in the public schools to be screened in the year of school entry and annually through grade 3 (or by age 9 in the case of ungraded classrooms), once in grades 6 through 8 (ages 12 through 14 in the case of ungraded classrooms), and once in grades 9 through 12 (ages 15 through 18 in the case of ungraded classrooms).

Who Can Screen

Screenings of sight and hearing shall be performed by teachers, physicians, optometrists, nurses or others approved by the Department for this purpose, in accordance with guidelines of the Department of Health.

Training for Screeners

Training for screeners is not addressed by laws/regulations.

Type of Testing

Type of testing is not addressed by laws/regulations.

Equipment Standards

Equipment standards are not addressed by laws/regulations.

Follow-up Protocols & Documentation

For any student who does not pass a vision or hearing screening, a written plan shall be developed by the school nurse, in consultation to the extent possible with a student's parent or legal guardian, for appropriate follow up of the student. With the consent of the parent or legal guardian, the student's primary care provider shall be furnished with a copy of the record of screening tests performed in the school.

Resources

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.

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