Rhode Island 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


Every newborn infant shall be evaluated by procedures approved by the state department of health for the detection of hearing impairments.


Intervention is not addressed by law/regulations.


Standards and protocols are not addressed by law/regulations.


Tracking and reporting is not addressed by law/regulations.

Agency Oversight

Rhode Island Department of Health, Newborn Hearing Screening

School-Age Screening

Ages/Populations Screened

School children in pre-kindergarten programs operated by public school districts, as well as all school children in kindergarten, first, second, and third grades and any student(s) new to a school without a prior record of a hearing screening shall be given a hearing screening test.

Students who failed the hearing screening tests in previous years, repeat a grade, have a history of hearing difficulty or pathology, are enrolled in curricular or extracurricular activities where there is exposure to noise levels that meet or exceed current Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, or are suspected by school personnel of a hearing loss shall be screened as often as is necessary.

Who Can Screen

Personnel who may perform the screening requirements include: an audiologist, speech language pathologist, certified school nurse-teacher, audiometric aide under the supervision of a licensed audiologist, or a speech/language pathology assistant under the supervision of a certified speech language pathologist.

Training for Screeners

Training for screeners is not addressed by law/regulations.

Type of Testing

The screening shall consist of an initial Otoacoustic Emission hearing test. Children who fail the initial screen shall immediately be re-screened with tympanometry and pure tone according to American Speech/Language and Hearing guidelines for screening school age children.

Equipment Standards

All equipment utilized in the hearing screenings shall be calibrated according to current national standards.

Follow-up Protocols & Documentation

The parent of a student who does not meet the "passing" criteria of the hearing screening shall be notified and recommended to obtain a comprehensive audiological evaluation and/or medical follow-up with the child's primary care physician.

Children identified with a potentially educationally-significant hearing impairment shall be referred by the certified school nurse-teacher for in-school supportive accommodations, Teacher Support Teams, or other educational services, as appropriate.

The hearing status of children referred for further evaluation shall be confirmed and noted by the certified school nurse-teacher within 3 months of the initial referral.

A student's hearing screening results shall be entered into his/her school health record by the certified school nurse-teacher or the person performing the screening. At a minimum, the following components shall be noted in the record:

  • date screening completed
  • screening results
  • follow-up plan, as indicated

Agency Oversight

Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 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.

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