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EBP Compendium: Summary of Systematic Review

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Universal Newborn Hearing Screening: Systematic Review to Update the 2001 US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation

Nelson, H. D., Bougatsos, C., et al. (2008).
Pediatrics, 122(1), e266-276.

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review addresses a clearly focused question Yes
Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided Yes
Search strategy is described in sufficient detail for replication No
Included studies are assessed for study quality Yes
Quality assessments are reproducible Yes*

Description: This is an updated systematic review of controlled trials and observational studies addressing outcomes of infants screened for hearing loss by 6 months of age. 

Question(s) Addressed:

  1. Among infants identified by universal screening who would not be identified by targeted screening, does initiating treatment before 6 months of age improve language and communication outcomes?
  2. Compared with targeted screening, does universal screening increase the chance that treatment will be initiated by 6 months of age for infants at average risk or for those at high risk?
  3. What are the adverse effects of screening and early treatment?

Population: Infants

Intervention/Assessment: Universal newborn hearing screening (UNHS)

Number of Studies Included: 20

Years Included: Through November 2007



  • "Children with hearing loss who had UNHS have better language outcomes at school age than those not screened" (p. 266).
  • "Infants identified with PCHL through UNHS have significantly earlier referral, diagnosis, and treatment than those identified in other ways" (p. 274).

Keywords: Hearing Loss, Deafness, Early Hearing Detection and Intervention

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*For more information about quality assessment, see the current methods of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Added to Compendium: March 2012

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