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Important Facts for Newborn Hearing Screening


Screening for hearing loss for newborn infants has been mandated in Utah since 1998. Because half of the children with hearing loss have no family history of deafness or hearing loss, universal screening is conducted to detect children with permanent congenital hearing loss (PCHL) as soon as possible. There is substantial evidence that newborn hearing screening is highly accurate and leads to earlier identification and treatment of infants with hearing loss. Healthy People 2020 Objectives addressed in this report include: * HP 2020 ENT-VSL-1.1 Percentage of newborns who are screened for hearing loss no later than age 1 month. * HP 2020 ENT-VSL-1.2 Percentage of infants who did not pass hearing screening who received audiologic evaluation by age 3 months. * HP 2020 ENT-VSL-1.3 Percentage of infants with confirmed hearing loss enrolled in intervention services no later than age 6 months.


ENT-VSL-1.1 Number of newborns screened for hearing loss by one month of age[[br]] ENT-VSL-1.2 Number of newborns who received an audiologic evaluation following failed hearing screening[[br]] ENT-VSL-1.3 Number of infants with confirmed hearing loss enrolled in Early Intervention


ENT-VSL-1.1 Number of occurrent births in Utah[[br]] ENT-VSL-1.2 Number of infants referred for audiologic evaluation[[br]] ENT-VSL-1.3 Number of infants with confirmed permanent hearing loss

Why Is This Important?

It is extremely important for hearing loss to be detected early to optimize communication development. The most effective method to implement early identification of hearing loss is to screen all infants before they leave the birthing hospital or before ten days of age to diagnose permanent hearing loss quickly, and begin intervention as soon as possible.

Other Objectives

{{style color:#003366 ENT-VSL-1.1:}} Increase the proportion of newborns who are screened for hearing loss no later than age 1 month * '''U.S. 2017 Baseline:''' 95.4 percent * '''Utah 2017 Baseline:''' 97.3 percent[[br]] Target to maintain > 95% by 2024.[[br]] [[br]] {{style color:#003366 ENT-VSL-1.2:}} Increase the proportion of newborns who receive audiologic evaluation no later than age 3 months for infants who did not pass the hearing screening * '''U.S. 2017 Baseline:''' 49.2 percent * '''Utah 2017 Baseline:''' 64.8 percent[[br]] Target by 2024 min of 85%, or increase by 10% from baseline.[[br]] [[br]] {{style color:#003366 ENT-VSL-1.3:}} Increase the proportion of infants with confirmed hearing loss who are enrolled for intervention services no later than age 6 months * '''U.S. 2017 Baseline:''' 43.4 percent * '''Utah 2017 Baseline:''' 68.4 percent Target by 2024 min of 80%, or to increase by 15% from baseline.[[br]] [[br]] Targets are from EHDI HRSA Grant 2020-2024.

How Are We Doing?

The Utah Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Program within the Utah Department of Health and Human Services oversees newborn hearing screening in Utah and documents hearing screening on over 99% of newborns. In 2022, 97.3% of all infants born in the state of Utah received a hearing screening prior to one month of age. Of just those infants who received a screening, 98.5% were prior to 1 month (as reported to the CDC EHDI Hearing Screening and Follow-up Survey [HSFS]), an increase from 97.4% reported for 2011 births. Many of the infants with screening delayed past one month are NICU (newborn intensive care unit) infants where screening may not be indicated until discharge (often after one month of age), or home births who may not have access to screening before one month of age. Those infants who failed their most recent screening should have a diagnostic exam with a pediatric audiologist prior to 3 months of age. Infants who received a diagnostic exam prior to three months steadily increased from 19.2% in 2011 to 79.4% in 2022. For infants born in 2022 who received a diagnostic exam, 87.2% were prior to 3 months of age. Infants undergoing diagnostic procedures may receive confirmation of hearing loss after the optimal 3-month "window" although they received one or more diagnostic evaluations before that time. The values reported to the CDC are based on the final or "confirmed" hearing status which could include multiple previous diagnostic exams. Utah continues to have one of the lowest lost to follow-up rates in the nation, even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with 2021 overall lost to follow-up at 3.9% vs the national rate of 32.4% (national numbers for 2022 are not yet published).

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

In 2021, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) EHDI showed that 98% of newborns in the United States (48 states, 6 territories, 1 district) were screened for hearing loss, with 95.5% screened by one month of age. Of those infants not passing the hearing screening, 57.6% had a diagnostic evaluation; 42.7% were diagnosed as either having or not having a hearing loss before three months of age. Nationally, we saw a decrease in infants receiving a timely diagnostic exam due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however Utah remained steady, continuing to offer services throughout the pandemic. ''* For data tracking and reporting purposes, those "referred for evaluation" include all infants who did not pass their final hearing screening or went directly to evaluation with no screening. While Utah is a 2-stage screening state, this number includes all infants who did not pass both inpatient and outpatient screens and were referred for diagnostic audiology, as well as those infants who did not pass inpatient screening and did not return for outpatient screening.''[[br]] Of infants "referred for evaluation"* in 2021: * % with no loss ** U.S.: 65.4% ** Utah: 47.4% [[br]] *% with hearing loss ** U.S.: 10.3% ** Utah: 14.8% [[br]] *% overall loss to follow-up ** U.S.: 32.4% ** Utah: 3.9% [[br]] *% loss to follow-up due to "unable to contact/unknown" ** U.S.: 22.7% ** Utah: 0%[[br]] [[br]] *% loss to follow-up due to "contacted unresponsive" ** U.S.: 9.6% ** Utah: 3.9%[[br]] [[br]] National Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) data shows that 67.1% of infants born in 2021 with hearing loss who are receiving EI (Early Intervention) services were enrolled prior to six months of age; Utah showed a 87.3% enrollment success rate by six months of age for 2021.[[br]] [[br]] ---- Data source: [] Published November 2023.

What Is Being Done?

State legislation requires that ALL newborns, including those born at home, must have their hearing screened by one month of age and results reported to the Utah Department of Health and Human Services. Increased efforts have been focused on providing screening equipment, support, and training for local midwives who collectively birth over 1,000 infants per year. The Utah Newborn Hearing Screening/EHDI Program supports tracking efforts and provides resource information to hospitals, midwives, medical providers, local programs, and families. Improvements in the EHDI tracking surveillance system and decreasing loss to follow-up/documentation has been a priority, as well as matching EHDI data across other state programs (Utah Birth Defects Network, Critical Congenital Heart Defect (CCHD) screening, Vital Records, etc.). Implementation of the Birth Certificate Alert Program, in collaboration with local health departments, began statewide in 2014. Twenty-six of 29 local health department birth certificate offices are now participating. Alerts to parents applying for their child's birth certificate are generated if their infant has not yet completed the newborn hearing screening process. The Newborn Hearing Screening Committee endorses Healthy People 2020/2030 goals and assesses progress quarterly. The Utah EHDI Program has been working extensively with the Office of Vital Records both to clean and match data, as well as by updating the Birth Certificate Application so that midwives can now enter (September 2020) newborn hearing screening results as they apply for the child's birth certificate. Beginning in 2017 the Utah EHDI Program partnered with Utah Family Voices/Utah Parent Center to employ Parent Consultants to provide support to families who have a child who is deaf or hard of hearing. This has been a valuable partnership providing support to families throughout Utah. Particular emphasis has been put on collaborating with Baby Watch Early Intervention and the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind Parent Infant Program to increase enrollment and education in regards to Early Intervention services. In-line with HRSA funding, the EHDI Program is also working to expand technical assistance to Early Childhood screening programs.

Evidence-based Practices

The Utah EHDI program follows all of the best practice guidelines within this document: Year 2019 Position Statement: Principles and Guidelines for Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Programs [[br]] []
The information provided above is from the Utah Department of Health and Human Services IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Tue, 18 June 2024 12:11:24 from Utah Department of Health and Human Services, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Thu, 7 Mar 2024 09:55:13 MST