Virginia 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.
All infants shall be given a hearing screening test, regardless of whether or not the infant is at risk of hearing impairment.
Prior to discharge, written information must be given to the parent of each infant that includes purposes and benefits of newborn hearing screening, indicators of hearing loss, procedures used for hearing screening, results of the hearing screening, the recommendations for further testing, and where the testing can be obtained.
Give written information to the infant's primary medical care provider that includes procedures used for hearing screening, the limitations of screening procedures, the results of the hearing screening, and the recommendations for further testing.
The Department of Health must provide follow-up for all infants reported. Follow-up includes, but is not limited to:
- Communicating with the parent by mail for those infants who failed the hearing screening, those who had one or more risk factors identified and were not screened prior to discharge, those who were not screened, and those who are at risk for progressive hearing loss in order to advise of the need for audiological services as well as to provide information on locating an approved center that provides diagnostic audiological services or a licensed audiologist;
- Receiving results of both the audiological evaluations and the intervention referrals, and adding the information to the database; and
- Communicating with the parent by mail for any child found to have a hearing loss in order to provide information about hearing loss and appropriate resources.
Persons who provide audiological services and who determine that a child has failed to pass a hearing screening, was not successfully tested, or has a hearing loss shall:
- Provide the screening or evaluation results to the parent and to the child's primary medical care provider;
- Send a Virginia Department of Health report including test results, diagnosis, and recommendations to the Virginia Department of Health, in a manner devised by the Department, which may be electronic, within two weeks of the visit;
- Advise the parent about and offer referral to local early intervention or education programs; and
- Give resource information to the parent of any child who is found to have a hearing loss, including but not limited to the degrees and effects of hearing loss, communication options, amplification options, the importance of medical follow up, and agencies and organizations that provide services to children with hearing loss and their families.
Standards and protocols are not addressed by laws/regulations.
Within one week of discharge, complete the Virginia Department of Health report, which may be electronic, on each infant who does not pass the hearing screening and send it to the Virginia Department of Health;
On a monthly basis, send to the Virginia Department of Health a report of the total number of discharges, the total number of infants who passed the newborn hearing screening, the total number who failed, and the total number not tested due to parents' exercise of their rights; and
Report to the Virginia Department of Health, on a yearly basis, the test procedures used by the newborn hearing screening program, the name of the program director, the name of the advising audiologist, equipment calibration records, screening protocols, and referral procedures.
All children within 60 administrative working days of initial enrollment in a public school, shall be screened in the following areas to determine if formal assessment is indicated:
- Speech, voice, and language; and
- Vision and hearing.
Additional screening for vision and hearing should occur in grades 3, 7, and 10.
Who Can Screen
Speech-language pathologists and audiologists are qualified to conduct hearing screening programs. Certification programs for hearing screening are available for other personnel. Non-certified personnel responsible for the screening program should receive instruction in the proper techniques to be used.
Training for Screeners
Training should be conducted by a currently licensed audiologist. Personnel conducting the screening should give an explanation of the test procedure to the class as a group, and individually as needed, prior to the testing to assure that students understand the purpose and process. Individual screening is required as group screening is not valid.
Type of Testing
Pure tone audiometers
Tympanometry screening is recommended for all students kindergarten through third grade and all preschool-aged students in the early childhood special education programs or 4-year old programs.
Pure tone audiometers must meet the standards for screening audiometers established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). It should have the air conduction frequencies of 500, 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hertz. Proper handling of these machines is required, with at least yearly calibration, in order to ensure accurate readings.
The tympanometry equipment should comply with ANSI standards and provide information on tympanogram peak (Peak Y amplitude), width (Peak Y gradient), and volume of the external auditory canal (physical volume).
Follow-up Protocols & Documentation
Parents of all students who do not perform satisfactorily on a hearing screening and subsequent re-test (within two weeks) are notified by school health personnel. A repeat failure of the screening indicates that there is sufficient deviation from the norm in the results of the screening test to justify parental notification. Parents should be advised to have the child evaluated by an audiologist or by their health care provider.
The information contained herein was collected and summarized annually. For detailed information on hearing screening requirements, visit these websites:
Newborn Screening Statute: Va. Code Ann. 32.1-64.1
Newborn Screening Regulations: 12 VAC 5-80
School-Age Screening Statute: Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-273
Virginia School Health Guidelines [PDF]
Questions regarding this document? Call ASHA at 800-498-2071 and ask for the State Advocacy Team.