The scope of this page is hearing screening for children ages 0-6 months of age. Newborn hearing screening is but one part of a comprehensive Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program of service.
See the screening section of the
Hearing Loss (Newborn) Evidence Map for pertinent scientific evidence, expert opinion, and client/caregiver perspective.
Newborn hearing screening is the standard of care in hospitals nationwide. The primary purpose of newborn hearing screening is to identify newborns who are likely to have hearing loss and who require further evaluation. A secondary objective is to identify newborns with medical conditions that
can cause late-onset hearing loss and to establish a plan for continued monitoring of their hearing status (Joint Committee on Infant Hearing [JCIH], 2007). The EHDI guidelines include hearing screening completion by 1 month of age, diagnosis of any hearing loss by 3 months of age, hearing
aid selection and fitting within 1 month of confirmation of hearing loss if parents choose that option, and entry into early intervention (EI) services by 6 months of age.
In 2014, 96.1% of babies born in the United States had their hearing screened before 1 month of age (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2016), and 6,163 infants were diagnosed with permanent hearing loss.
Screening programs target permanent childhood hearing loss (PCHL) irrespective of type. However, some protocols are more effective at identifying types and degrees of hearing loss within different populations (i.e., well-baby nursery or neonatal intensive care unit [NICU]).
Passing a screening does not mean that a child has normal hearing across the frequency range. Because minimal and frequency-specific hearing losses are not targeted by newborn hearing screening programs, newborns with these losses may pass a hearing screening. Because these losses have the
potential to interfere with the speech, language, and psychoeducational development of children (Yoshinaga-Itano, DeConde Johnson, Carpenter, & Stredler-Brown, 2008), monitoring of hearing, speech, and language milestones throughout childhood is essential.