Current assessment of newborn hearing screening protocols

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The objective of this article is to assess current newborn hearing screening protocols. We will focus on technologies or modalities used, protocol steps, training of screeners, timing of first screen, and loss to follow-up. A summary of program reports focusing on protocols from Greece, China, South Africa, France, Spain, South Korea, Denmark, Italy, Turkey, Taiwan, South Korea, Poland and Iran as they are recently reported will also be presented.

Recent findings

Community-based hearing screening programs in South Africa and efforts in the Asian region are being reported. The use of automated auditory brainstem response and staged procedures are gaining popularity because of low refer rates. However, follow-up issues remain a problem. The importance of having trained nonprofessional screeners and an efficient database is becoming more evident as the number of newborns screened for hearing loss increase each year.

Summary

There are many reported protocols using different technologies, involving several stages, implemented in different settings which should not confuse but rather guide stakeholders so that programs may attain certain benchmarks and ultimately help the hard-at-hearing child in achieving his or her full potential.

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