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The Birth Hospital's Role in Newborn Hearing Screening

Birth Hospital

Hospitals and birth centers perform hearing screenings on newborns before discharge. If a newborn does not pass the hearing screening, a follow-up screening is performed before discharge or as an outpatient. It is the responsibility of the hospital to have a hearing screening performed on newborns.

What are the guidelines for conducting hearing screenings in the nursery?

  • Test the newborn no earlier than 12 hours after birth.
  • Choose a time when the infant is not being seen by other health care professionals.
  • Test when infants are quiet or sleeping; optimally, one hour following feeding.
  • To help calm a restless infant, swaddle the infant and dim the lights.
  • Select a time when the infant is medically stable.
  • Ensure a quiet environment for testing, away from background noise.
  • Follow standard precautions for infection control (e.g. hand washing, appropriate cleansing of equipment, etc.).

View the complete Guidelines Newborn Hearing Screening MDCH 1132

What are the guidelines for conducting hearing screenings in the NICU?

Since the incidence of sensory, as well as neural hearing loss is approximately ten-times higher in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) versus well-baby nursery, A-ABR is the recommended screening technology for use in the NICU population (JCIH 2019). The hearing screen should be performed as close to discharge as possible.

If a newborn does not pass his/her hearing screening, is it acceptable to repeat the screening more than one time?

If a newborn does not pass the initial hearing screening, it is acceptable to repeat the screening one more time. This should be done several hours after the initial test, preferably right before discharge. No more than two hearing screens should be performed prior to discharge.

What is the responsibility of the birth facility for newborns that did not receive a hearing screening before discharge?

An infant that does not complete an initial hearing screening for any reason should be scheduled for an appointment to return to the birth facility for completion of the hearing screening or the designated refer site of the hospital.

How should the birth facility inform parents of the newborn hearing screening results?

The person performing the hearing screening should give parents the following information in clear, non-technical terms and in the native language of the family:

  • Provide results of the screening whether the newborn passed or did not pass the hearing screening and what the results mean. The results should be conveyed verbally and in writing to the parents using a standard notification form prepared explicitly for this purpose.
  • Provide written notification to parents if an infant needs a repeat hearing screening. If the infant did not pass the initial screening the parents should understand the importance of obtaining a repeat hearing screening as soon as possible.
  • Schedule the repeat hearing screening appointment with parents prior to discharge if an infant does not pass the initial screening. If the infant is discharged from the NICU, refer the family to a pediatric audiologist for a diagnostic evaluation.

NOTE: It is recommended that a birth facility have a formal or informal relationship with an audiology facility to refer families for a diagnostic evaluation.

  • If the initial screening was not competed (the baby was missed or results were incomplete) prior to discharge, it is the birth facility's responsibility to provide the initial hearing screening to the newborn after discharge and to make an appointment for this hearing screening before the newborn is discharged.
  • Provide all parents with information on milestones of normal auditory, speech and language development in children.

What information should be sent to the MI Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program and when does it need to be sent?

Hospitals and birth centers are to notify the Michigan Early Hearing Detection and intervention Program of the hearing screening results of every newborn. Hearing results should be sent within 7 days of performing the hearing screen.

What is the responsibility of the birth facility to communicate newborn hearing screening results to primary care providers?

The primary care provider is to be notified of the results of the newborn hearing screening.

What information will I receive from the EHDI program?

The Michigan newsletter for birth hospitals is provided quarterly and gives information on EHDI program updates and how to improve newborn hearing screening and follow-up.

Michigan Current Quarterly Report- Birth hospitals receive the most current data and statistics for the hospital's newborn hearing screening program.

Online Hearing screening training

The National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM) provides a web-based Newborn Hearing Screening Training Curriculum (NHSTC) at no cost to all screeners and stakeholders. The goals of this course are to provide information on universal newborn hearing screening and to increase screener proficiency and confidence in all Michigan hospitals. The recommended practices are based on the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH) Position Statement. The online course is designed to be used together with “hands-on” equipment specific training with newborns. A skills checklist is provided for documentation of “hands on” competencies. This course is especially important for nurses, hearing screeners and managers of newborn hearing screening programs.

About the Course

  • Web-based design format and features
  • Increased opportunity for standardized, consistent training & implementation
  • Enables screeners to learn at their own pace
  • Certificate of completion provided to document training 
  • Includes valuable resources such as parent communication scripts and competency checklists 
  • Takes approximately 2 hours to complete
  • 3 CEU available through the America Academy of Audiology (AAA)
  • 3 CE available through the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAP NAP)

To enroll


To order these brochures fill out the order form and fax to 517-763-0183 (Order Form MDHHS 0708 )

Reporting forms for providers:

Additional Information: