Newborn Hearing Screening Information for Healthcare Providers

As a healthcare provider, you play a key role in ensuring early screening, diagnosis, and intervention for newborns and toddlers with hearing loss. Prompt follow-up on failed newborn hearing screenings is crucial to assure speech, language, and healthy brain development. The appropriate referral of infants diagnosed with hearing loss helps families receive timely and appropriate medical intervention and support. Refer to the Best Practice Guideline for Rhode Island Medical Home for complete details and guidelines.

What You Should Do

Remember 1-3-6

All infants should receive:

  • A hearing screening by one month of age. Hospitals and birth centers perform hearing screenings on newborns before discharge or as an outpatient.
  • Diagnostic evaluation by an audiologist no later than three months of age if the infant did not pass the hearing screening.
  • Early intervention by six months of age if the infant is diagnosed with a hearing loss.

Follow up with families of newborns who have incomplete or failed screening results

Approximately one in ten infants who fail the newborn hearing screening has a permanent hearing loss. It is not safe to assume a failed hearing screening is due to fluid or debris.

  • Obtain screening results for all infants from KIDSNET.
  • If an infant has an incomplete or invalid hearing screening result, refer the infant to their birthing hospital for re-screening .
  • If an infant has a failed hearing screening result, refer the infant for needed evaluation by an audiologist pediatric audiology services and for early intervention services according to the 1-3-6 guidelines above.
  • Help families understand the importance of follow-up when newborns do not pass a hearing screening at birth more

If you need additional information or guidance, please contact the Rhode Island Hearing Assessment Program.

Review screening and diagnostic results

Hospitals, audiologists, and service providers must report hearing screening and diagnostic results for every infant to the Rhode Island Hearing Assessment Program through KIDSNET or by fax at 401-276-7813. Use KIDSNET to review screening and diagnostic results for every infant in your practice.

Be alert to acquired, late onset, and progressive hearing loss

Approximately 1 to 3 babies out of 1,000 will be born with permanent hearing loss. Another 2 to 3 out of 1,000 will acquire a hearing loss after birth. Consistently monitor all infants, including those with a pass result, for auditory skills, middle ear status, and language developmental milestones as recommended by the Rhode Island Medicaid Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment schedule.