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The Physician's Role in Follow-Up to Newborn Screening
Hospitals use two objectives physiologic methods to screen for hearing loss
Bilateral and unilateral refers need to have a re-screen by one month of age. (Hospital sites) Infants should return promptly for re screening within the first few weeks of life. Physicians need to educate and counsel parents in a way that facilitates their return for follow-up without producing undue anxiety. Research indicates that the benefits of early identification far out weigh the anxiety of a failed initial screen.
If the baby refers a second time, then a complete audiologic assessment is needed by 3 months. (Audiology tests) Note: not all communities will have the ability to provide the tests or possible sedation if needed . The sooner a baby is seen for additional testing the less likely sedation will be needed. (Pediatric audiology sites) Repeating the screening multiple times is not recommended. Stress to families that most infants pass diagnostic testing and that hearing loss cannot be confirmed until after this evaluation.
A pass result indicates that the baby passed the screen in both ears at birth, indicating that hearing levels appear to be adequate for normal speech and language development. However hearing loss can occur at any time and physicians should be alert to acquired, late onset and progressive hearing loss. Even with a pass result normal speech language milestones should be monitored closely.
Additional Resources For Families
Children's Special Health Care Service (CSHCS) is a program within the Michigan Department of Community Health that can help families with medical coverage and referral for specialty services and support. The fees associated with the cost of the diagnostic audiological evaluation may be covered under private insurance, Medicaid or CSHCS.
Guide By Your Side is a free program that links an experienced parent of a deaf or hard of hearing child with a parent of a newly identified deaf or hard of hearing infant. (GBYS)
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