Office of Newborn Screening
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month and CF Awareness Month. Annually in AZ, > 100 babies are identified with significant hearing loss and another 25 are diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Click here to learn more: CF | Hearing
The success of the Newborn Screening program depends on the coordinated efforts of many health professionals. Medical Home and/or other Healthcare Professionals are generally responsible for: ordering the screening tests for newborn infants in their care, informing parents about the screening tests, and collection and handling of newborn screening specimens. Practitioners, and/or their contracted laboratories, may collect and send specimens for testing. Practitioners, hospitals and laboratories work together to coordinate timely collection and rapid delivery of acceptable newborn screening specimens to the Arizona Public Health Laboratory (State Lab).
Hearing Screening & EHDI
The Arizona Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program (EHDI) includes newborn hearing screening follow-up under the Office of Newborn Screening. Follow-up is conducted to meet the goals of:
- Screening all infants for hearing loss by one month of age
- Completing diagnostic testing before three months of age for children who fail the newborn hearing screen
- Enrollment in Early Intervention services as soon as possible (prior to 6 months of age) after diagnosis of hearing loss
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In order for the Program to know where infants are in the process of early identification and to provide appropriate follow up, it is critical that providers know when and how to report screening and diagnostic results.
If infants do not pass their newborn hearing screen in the hospital, it is important that the babies are screened again as soon as possible (no later than 1 month of age). Most can return to the birthing hospital for an outpatient rescreen within the first week or two after discharge. If it is not possible or convenient (or for insurance coverage), the provider can refer the infant to another screening location.
If the infant was screened with the AABR, it is best if AABR is used for the rescreening. NICU graduates (more than a 5-day stay) or infants with risk indicators for hearing loss:
- Screening Locations
- Do not rescreen
- Refer to a pediatric audiologist for diagnostic testing
- Older infants may need sedation/anesthesia
Refer to a pediatric audiologist if the infant fails an outpatient screen or is a NICU graduate that failed the inpatient screen. Infants may need a referral from the primary care provider.
- The Office of Newborn Screening refers families and providers to EHDI-PALS (Early Hearing Detection & Intervention - Pediatric Audiology Links to Services), a web-based link to information, resources, and services for children with hearing loss.
Late Onset and Progressive Hearing Losses
Between the newborn period and school age the prevalence of significant hearing loss doubles. This increase in hearing loss is due to:
- Late onset losses
- Progressive losses
- False negative screens
- Missed newborn screens or loss to follow-up
Although some children present with hearing loss and have no risk factors, there are conditions known to cause hearing loss. The Joint Committee on Infant Hearing recommends that these children receive, at minimum, a diagnostic assessment by 24 to 30 months of age. Risk indicators that are marked with an asterisk are of greater concern for delayed-onset hearing loss and should receive earlier and/or more frequent assessment.
- Caregiver concern regarding hearing, speech, language, or developmental delay
- Family history* of permanent childhood hearing loss
- Neonatal intensive care of more than 5 days or any of the following regardless of length of stay: ECMO*, assisted ventilation, exposure to ototoxic medications (gentimycin and tobramycin) or loop diuretics (furosemide/Lasix), and hyperbilirubinemia that requires exchange transfusion.
- In utero infections, such as CMV*, herpes, rubella, syphilis, or toxoplasmosis.
- Craniofacial anomalies, including those that involve the pinna, ear canal, ear tags, ear pits, and temporal bone anomalies.
- Physical findings, such as white forelock, that are associated with a syndrome known to include a sensorineural or permanent conductive hearing loss.
- Syndromes associated with hearing loss or progressive or late-onset hearing loss*, such as neurofibromatosis, osteopetrosis, and Usher syndrome. Other frequently identified syndromes include Waardenburg, Alport, Pendred, and Jervell and Lange-Nielson.
- Neurodegenerative disorders*, such as Hunter syndrome, or sensory motor neuropathies, such as Friedreich ataxia and Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome.
- Culture-positive postnatal infections associated with sensorineural hearing loss*, including confirmed bacterial and viral (especially herpes viruses and varicella) meningitis.
- Head trauma, especially basal skull/temporal bone fractures* that requires hospitalization.
Beyond the Newborn Period
The state is required by law to monitor screening, diagnostic, and early intervention results for all Arizona infants through two years of age. Beyond the Newborn Period provides resources to capture data for older infants.
- Community Health Centers and Early Head Start
- Medical Home Provider OAE Screening Form
- Hearing Outpatient Screening Form (HOPS)
- Community Health Center Hearing Screening Form
- Establishing a Sound Foundation for Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
A video of a talk given by Dr. Karl White, director of the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management.
Hearing Screening Guidelines
Statewide and national best practice standards for Universal Newborn Hearing Screening are detailed in the links below:
- Arizona Pediatric Audiology Guidelines
- Newborn Screening Diagnosis and Intervention Guidelines for Medical Home Providers, 2010
- Joint Committee on Infant Hearing, Year 2007 Position Statement: Principles and Guidelines for Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Programs
- The Arizona Pediatric Audiology Guidelines (last published in 2000) are currently under revision.
Family Checklists have been developed as a type of "road map" for parents and providers of children who have failed their newborn hearing screening tests. There are checklists for well-babies and NICU graduates or babies with risk factors for hearing loss and include developmental milestones, a timeline for when various assessments should be completed, and appropriate next steps.
These checklists may be given to families at the hospital and are included with letters to parents sent from the Office of Newborn Screening Follow-up.
Evidence based practice resources and competency based training curriculum for screening.
- Newborn Hearing Screening Training Curriculum
A video series for competency-based training for new hearing screeners.
- Hearing Loss in Children – What You Should Know
Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about child hearing loss and what parents should do.
- Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI)
The American Academy of Pediatrics talks about the importance of early detection of hearing loss and the benefits of testing.
- Loss & Found & Following through when a Baby Doesn't Pass the Newborn Hearing Screening
A video, brought to you by Hands & Voices, on the steps parents should take if their newborn doesn't pass the newborn hearing screening. Contact the Office of Newborn Screening to receive a free copy to show parents.
Resources to share with families in English and Spanish, including stories and family-to-family support networks.
- Can My Baby Hear? Your Baby's First Hearing Test
Order brochures from the Office of Newborn Screening to give to parents.
- Frequently Asked Questions from Parents
- Developmental Milestones from the NCHAM Curriculum
- Hands & Voices
A nationwide non-profit organization dedicated to supporting families and their children who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as the professionals who serve them.
- Hear for Kids
An Arizona program for children 0-18 years of age, providing loaner hearing aids, primarily for children with newly identified hearing loss.
ADHS Communications Sign-up Page
Stay informed about AzEHDI and join our email list. To add yourself to this list please do the following:
- Visit the ADHS Communications sign up page
- Enter your email address and click "Continue"
- Click the box next to "Newborn Screening: Early Hearing Detection and Intervention"
- Feel free to choose additional topics you would like to receive info on from ADHS
Note: Files are PDF format unless otherwise stated.