Raising awareness of children who fail their newborn hearing test and never receive follow-up.
In the past decade, the US has made impressive progress in reliably screening infants for hearing loss in the hospital. With screening rates increasing from 46.5 percent in 1999 to over 97 percent today, this is one of the most successful public health interventions in recent times. However, it is only the first step in a successful screening program. Early identification of hearing loss and appropriate support are important to successful speech and language development. For babies who do not pass their hearing test in the hospital, research shows that outcomes are dramatically improved when they receive timely follow-up to confirm a diagnosis by 3 months and – if needed – appropriate early intervention services by 6 months. Unfortunately, these two critical follow-up steps are not happening at the same level of reliability as the initial screening. Learn more in this NICHQ infographic.