Newborn hearing screening programme (NHSP) operational guidance

This guidance supports healthcare professionals and stakeholders delivering and managing newborn hearing screening programmes in England | Public Health England

This recently updated NHSP operational guidance provides clinical guidance and other documents to support the delivery of a high-quality screening programme.

This guidance is relevant to all screening programme staff and healthcare professionals involved at any point in the NHSP screening pathway.

This information puts into context the day-to-day working of the local screening programme and includes information about:

  • introductions and key contacts
  • roles, responsibilities and relationships of key NHSP staff and associated professionals
  • initial training and continued professional development including competencies for hearing screening staff
  • governance and performance responsibilities including programme standards, key performance indicators, and managing risks and incidents
  • aetiology input to NHSP and beyond
  • hearing screening equipment specifications and protocols
  • audiology input to NHSP and beyond
  • day to day management of a local NHSP patient pathway
  • the NHSP national IT system
  • reporting local programme performance

Full guidance available at Public Health England

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Factors Related to Not Following Up with Recommended Testing in the Diagnosis of Newborn Hearing Loss

Zeitlin, W. et al. (2017) Health Social Work. 42(1) pp. 24-31.

Children’s hearing is a public health concern, and universal newborn hearing screenings are the first step in detecting and treating congenital hearing loss. Despite the high rate of participation in such programs, loss to follow-up (LTF) with additional recommended diagnosis and treatment has been a persistent problem.

The current research seeks to expand the knowledge base at the point of diagnosis, where there is a large drop-off in parents following through with recommended care. This research was organized around the following question: What biopsychosocial factors are associated with LTF between screenings and diagnostic evaluations?

Read the full abstract here

Knowledge and attitude of parents/caregivers towards hearing loss and screening in newborns – a systematic review

Ravi, R. et al. International Journal of Audiology | Published online: 15 August 2016

Objective: The parents/caregivers of a newborn play a pivotal role in the process of hearing screening and intervention. The decisions taken by them depend on their knowledge and attitude. The purpose of this study was to review the literature systematically on knowledge and attitude of parents/caregivers towards infant hearing loss and newborn hearing screening.

Design: A systematic search was conducted using electronic databases for the periods from 1990 to March 2016. Two authors scrutinized the studies and extracted the data based on predetermined criteria.

Study sample: Ten studies.

Results: Ear discharge was correctly identified as a risk factor for hearing loss along with measles, drugs/medication, family history, congenital causes and noise exposure. The studies revealed mixed results for knowledge about newborn hearing screening. Overall, the parents/caregivers showed positive attitudes towards hearing screening and intervention options. However, due to heterogeneity in the studies, it’s hard to derive a conclusion.

Conclusions: The present review sheds light on the common areas of misconception among parents/caregivers about risk factors of infant hearing loss and newborn hearing screening. The review also draws attention to the need to have more studies exploring this knowledge and attitude of parents/caregivers among diverse populations.

Read the abstract here

New study: long-term benefit of newborn hearing screening

Pimperton H, et al. The impact of universal newborn hearing screening on long-term literacy outcomes: a prospective cohort study. Archives of disease in childhood. 2014 Nov 25


Results of a new study carried out in the UK show that detecting hearing impairment (HI), and intervening at a critical early stage, can make a lifelong difference in literacy outcomes and development. The researchers from the University of Southampton and King’s College London carried out a prospective cohort study of a population sample of children with permanent childhood hearing impairment (PCHI) followed up for 17 years since birth. The study included 114 teenagers: 76 with PCHI and 38 with normal hearing.

Results showed that the early and late confirmed HI groups had mean reading comprehension zscores that were 0.63 and 1.74 SDs below the mean reading z-score in the normal hearing comparison group. Teenagers who had their hearing impairment confirmed early (by nine months) had significantly higher adjusted mean z-scores than the later confirmed teenagers for reading comprehension and reading summarization.

Long-term follow-up in this study showed that the benefits of confirming hearing loss early, in terms of reading comprehension, increase during the teenage years. According to the authors, the results of the study strengthen the case for universal newborn hearing screening programs that lead to early confirmation of permanent hearing loss.