Per the Nebraska Infant Hearing Act, hospitals and birth centers perform hearing screenings on newborns before discharge. If a newborn does not pass the hearing screening, one follow-up screening is performed before discharge, and an additional screening can be done as an outpatient. By Nebraska state law, the hospital or birth center is responsible for performing an inpatient hearing screening on all newborns, and a follow-up screening on newborns that do not pass the initial hearing screening. A repeat hearing screening should be done no later than one month of age.
All hospitals should be aware of the recommended protocols for Newborn Hearing Screening, and incorporate these best practices into their hearing screening program.
Guidelines for conducting hearing screenings in neonatal (well-baby) nursery or birth center:
Online training is offered for free on the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM), Utah State University.
Since the incidence of sensory, as well as neural childhood deafness is approximately ten times higher in the NICU vs. well-baby, A-ABR is the recommended screening technology for use in the NICU population.
If a newborn does not pass the screening, it is acceptable to repeat the screening during the same session using the same technology one time, especially in cases when the screening conditions are not optimal either due to timing, noise conditions, or state of newborn.
Yes, complete rescreening on both ears is recommended, even if only one ear failed the initial screening (JCIH 2019).
The person performing the hearing screening should give the parents the following information in clear, non-technical terms and in the native language of the family.
The National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) provides a fact sheet on speech and language development. There are two parent brochures for birth facilities to use: one describes newborn hearing screening and the second brochure informs parents that their baby did not pass the newborn hearing screening and needs further testing.
These are available free from the Nebraska Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program in English, Spanish and 12 other languages. They are "Can Your Baby Hear: Your Baby's First Hearing Screening" and "Your Baby Needs Another Hearing Screening".
The NE-EHDI Program needs the following inpatient screening information entered into the hearing module (HINFO/HSCREENING screens) of the Nebraska Vital Records System within 14 days of birth:
The primary care provider is to be notified of the results of the newborn hearing screening. Results should also be reported to the NE-EHDI program within 14 days of birth.
For a side-by-side comparison of ABR and OAE screening, read the ABR and OAE infographic.