Washington 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.
Birth centers, at the time of registration, must inform clients that newborn hearing screening tests are offered in most hospitals.
Intervention is not addressed by laws/regulations.
Standards and protocols are not addressed by laws/regulations.
Tracking and reporting is not addressed by laws/regulations.
Washington State Department of Health, Early Hearing-loss Detection, Diagnosis and Intervention Program
Schools shall conduct auditory and visual screening of children:
- In kindergarten and grades 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, and
- For any child showing symptoms of possible loss in auditory or visual acuity referred to the district by parents, guardians, or school staff.
- If resources permit, schools shall annually screen children at other grade levels.
Who Can Screen
Each school district shall designate a district audiologist or district staff member having responsibility for administering the auditory screening program.
Training for Screeners
Each school district shall designate a district audiologist or district staff member having training and experience to:
- Develop an administrative plan for conducting auditory screening in cooperation with the appropriate school personnel to ensure the program is carried out efficiently and effectively,
- Obtain the necessary instrumentation for carrying out the screening program, and ensuring the equipment is in proper working order and calibration,
- Secure appropriate personnel for carrying out the screening program, if assistance is necessary, and for assuring these personnel are sufficiently trained to:
- Understand the purposes and regulations involved in the auditory screening programs
- Utilize the screening equipment to ensure maximum accuracy
- Ensure records are made and distributed as appropriate, and
- Disseminate information to other school personnel familiarizing them with aspects of a child's behavior indicating the need for referral for auditory screening.
Type of Testing
Schools shall use auditory screening equipment providing tonal stimuli at frequencies at one thousand, two thousand, and four thousand herz (Hz) at hearing levels of twenty decibels (dB), as measured at the earphones, in reference to American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 1996 standards.
Qualified persons will check the calibration of frequencies and intensity at least every twelve months, at the earphones, using equipment designed for audiometer calibration.
Follow-up Protocols & Documentation
If a child does not respond to one or more frequencies in either ear:
- The school must rescreen the child within six weeks, and
- Notify their teachers of the need for preferential positioning in class because of the possibility of decreased hearing, and
- Notify the parents or legal guardian of the need for audiological evaluation if the student fails the second screening.
Schools shall notify parents or legal guardian of the need for medical evaluation if:
- Indicated by audiological evaluation, or
- Audiological evaluation is not available.
Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Health Services
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.