Newborn Hearing Screening
Newborn Hearing Screening at King's Mill and Newark Hospitals
The Newborn Hearing Screening Programme [NHSP] was introduced by the Medical Research
Council to replace the health visitor distraction test after evidence suggested that the early identification of permanent childhood hearing impairment provided better outcomes for development of communication skills and language.
The programme was introduced, using the hospital model, at King's Mill Hospital in January 2004 and was countrywide in 2006. The programme is responsible for ensuring that the hearing screen is offered to all newborns that are registered with a GP associated to CCGs in the North Nottinghamshire region, and offers screening to all newborns born at King's Mill Hospital regardless of their GP's area.
The screen should be completed where possible at the bedside shortly after birth, which requires a screening team well integrated into the maternity ward. There are some babies whose screening may not be completed whilst an inpatient; for these babies an appointment to be screened as an outpatient at King's Mill or Newark Hospital will be offered.
The screen uses two different tests: Oto- Acoustic Emissions [OAE] and Automated Auditory Brainstem Response [AABR]. To assess the child's hearing these are used separately or in conjunction with each other depending if the baby is a well baby or one who has spent more than 48 hours on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Most babies are found to have clear responses to the screen, however a small proportion are found to have no clear responses. These children are seen in Audiology for a diagnostic hearing test within 4 weeks of original screen.
Current yield of programme
1-2:1000 well babies are born with a hearing loss and 3:1000 babies who spend more than 48 hours on NICU have a hearing loss. The screen will identify children with a moderate to profound hearing loss (greater than 40dB) as they are at most risk of related developmental problems.
If you require further information regarding newborn hearing screening, your baby's referral to Audiology services or to access our patient information leaflets, please access the links below or contact the screening team on 01623 622515, extension 3341 or 4053.