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The Role of the Midwife's and/or Out of Hospital Births

In Michigan, babies that are born out of hospital have access to hearing screening through a variety of ways.   Numerous midwives, doulas and student midwives have had training to perform hearing screenings and have access due to portable A-ABR machines to test babies. This is due to the generosity of The Carls Foundation which provided a grant to Michigan Coalition for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind People. The grant provided funding the hearing screening equipment, calibration, initial supplies, training costs, in partnership with Central Michigan University Audiology department. Equipment was distributed in the spring of 2014, and will be assessed annually to ensure continual optimal placement.

Midwives have two options to follow this mandate:


Regardless of which option is chosen, the midwife plays an important role in communicating the importance of the newborn hearing screen to the baby’s family. MI- EHDI program has educational brochures and a midwife flyer that can be customizable available at no cost. Midwives are also obligated to report results obtained by their screenings. They may also use a log sheet to record their results.

Where can a Baby's Hearing Be Screened?

Refer the families to one of the current host sites or to other locations which has the proper equipment and trained personnel who can perform newborn hearing screenings. These are located in a variety of settings, including hospital nurseries, audiology offices, primary care clinics, public health departments, and intermediate school districts. MI-EHDI program can help you find an outpatient provider in your area if you are unable to locate one using these resources. If you are unable to screen the baby or the baby refers after two screenings they need to be referred to a site that can perform diagnostic evaluations. These locations may have a sign-out process for other midwives to check out equipment. Here is a flowchart how the process should work.

How is Newborn Hearing Screening Done?

Newborn hearing screening does not require the infant’s active participation. Unlike the hearing tests done with older children and adults, babies do not have to raise their hands in response to a beep. While the baby is quiet and asleep, (this is vitally important for successful screens) computerized equipment measures responses to a series of tones and evaluates the baby’s hearing. The testing is simplified so that a variety of individuals with different training can effectively screen babies. The testing is not painful or even uncomfortable and is best done with the baby asleep

Why is Hearing Screening Important?

There are a number of myths and misconceptions on testing newborn babies hearing.

Are there any risk factors for Hearing Loss?

Risk factors have been identified that indicate which children are at an increased risk for hearing loss. If a

baby has any of these risk factors at birth or in childhood, it is especially important to schedule a hearing test.
Click on link for high risk factors

How do I counsel families on hearing screening?

Sample scripts to use when counseling families:

            Why they should get the hearing screening
            What if they referred?
            What if they referred a second time and need to make a diagnostic appt?

How can I perform hearing screening?

There are several steps you need to take to be able to offer the hearing screening for your families:
a. Inform MI-EHDI that you wish to learn how to perform a hearing screening.
b. Take the online course at
c. Attend hands-on training from EHDI or approved provider
d. Sign the agreement with the Michigan Coalition for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf/Blind people.
    If you also wish to be a host site:
            1. Fill out the appilcation
            2. Purchase insurance
            3. Develop the policies and procedure for Coalition/EHDI aprroval.

For more information about Newborn Hearing Screening for Midwives and to order free educational materials, call (517) 335-8955 or email Nan Asher at:


Michigan's Newborn Hearing Screening Program English MDCH-0474
Midwife Flyer
Midwife reporting form






Related Content
 •  Michigan Hands and Voices
 •  The Physician's Role in Newborn Hearing Screening and Follow-Up
 •  Guide By Your Side Program
 •  Parent Information
 •  The Birth Hospital's Role in Newborn Hearing Screening
 •  The Role of an Audiologist in Hearing Screening and Diagnostic Evaluations
 •  Early Intervention
 •  Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Program
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