To investigate outpatient outcome measures of a multi-center, state-wide, universal newborn hearing screening project.Design:
Eight hospitals participated in a 3-yr, funded project. Each hospital designed its own protocol using common criteria for judging whether an infant passed a hearing screening. Infants were tested in the hospital, and those either failing the in-hospital screening or who were not tested in the hospital (missed) were asked to return 4 to 6 wk after hospital discharge for outpatient rescreening. Those infants failing the outpatient rescreening were referred for diagnostic auditory brain stem response testing. Each hospital used its own audiological equipment and criteria to determine whether a particular infant had a hearing loss. All data were collected and analyzed for individual hospitals, as well as totaled across all hospitals. Data were analyzed in terms of year of program operation, nursery type, and geographic region.Results:
Seventy-two percent of infants who failed the in-hospital screening returned for outpatient testing. The percentage of in-hospital fails returning for retesting was significantly higher than the percentage of in-hospital misses returning for retesting. The percentage of infants returning for retesting increased with successive years of program operation. Some differences were noted in the percentage of infants returning for retesting among hospitals and geographic regions of the state. Some differences in outpatient outcome measures also were noted between infants originally born into the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and the well-baby nursery (WBN). The percentage of infants from the NICU who returned for retesting was slightly higher than that for infants from the WBN. The percentage of infants from the WBN passing the outpatient rescreening was higher than that for the NICU infants. The overall prevalence of hearing loss was 1.96/1000, with that in the NICU being 8/1000 and that in the WBN being 0.9/1000. Positive predictive value for permanent hearing loss based on inpatient screening was approximately 4% and based on outpatient rescreening was approximately 22%.Conclusions:
Several outpatient outcome measures changed with successive years of program operation, suggesting that programs improve over time. Also, some outpatient outcome measures differ between NICU and WBN populations. The differences noted across regions of the state in the percentage of infants returning for outpatient retesting require further research to determine whether differences are due to demographic and/or procedural differences.