Pennsylvania 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.
The Department of Health will develop a program to screen all newborns in the Commonwealth for hearing loss before leaving a hospital and to screen all newborns who are not born in a hospital within the first 30 days of life.
The Department will provide information and instruction to the parents of all newborns and infants on the merits of having the hearing screening performed and of receiving follow-up care.
Standards and protocols are not addressed by law/regulations.
Every hospital in the Commonwealth shall report to the Department of Health the number of newborns and infants screened and the results of the screening. The Department of Health, based on this information, shall report to the General Assembly every January 1 the following:
- The number of hospitals conducting hearing screenings during birth admissions.
- The number of live births in hospitals.
- The number of newborns screened during birth admissions.
- The number of live births in a location other than a hospital.
- The number of newborns born in a location other than a hospital screened within 30 days of the date of birth.
- The number of newborns born in a hospital who passed and the number who did not pass the birth admission screening, if administered.
- The number of newborns born in a location other than a hospital who passed and the number who did not pass a screening within 30 days of the date of birth, if administered.
- The number of infants who returned for follow-up rescreening.
- The number of infants who passed the follow-up rescreening.
- The number of infants recommended for monitoring, intervention and follow-up care.
Each year, pupils in kindergarten, special ungraded classes and grades 1, 2, 3, 7, and 11 shall be given a hearing screening test.
Who Can Screen
School nurses and medical technicians (properly trained health room aide) shall perform hearing tests on each school age child.
Training for Screeners
Training for screeners is not addressed by law/regulation.
Type of Testing
An individual pure tone audiometer or other screening equipment approved by the Department of Health shall be utilized for hearing screening tests. Frequencies of 250, 500, 1,000, 2,000 and 4,000 cycles per second shall be employed in screening testing.
Equipment standards are not addressed by law/regulation.
Follow-up Protocols & Documentation
School nurses/school nurse practitioners are responsible for referring any pupil found to have failed the threshold test for further evaluation. Referrals should be made by personal contact with a parent, followed by written notification using Parent/Guardian Notification. Report from the physician or the hearing specialist should be completed on the Physician/Hearing Specialist Report and returned to the school nurse.
The information contained herein was collected and summarized annually. For detailed information on hearing screening requirements, visit these websites:
Newborn Screening Statute: 2001 Pa. Laws 89
School Age Screening Regulations: 28 Pa. Code §23.5
Guidelines for the School Hearing Screening Program [PDF]
Questions regarding this document? Call ASHA at 800-498-2071 and ask for the State Advocacy Team.