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Newborn Hearing Screening - Policy

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  1. The family of the newborn infant is to receive the hospital birth packet, routinely available to all birthing facilities by the Bureau for Public Health, Division of Surveillance and Disease Control, Immunization Program.

  2. All newborns, born in the State of West Virginia, must be screened for possible hearing loss, as required in H.B. 2388.

  3. Screening is to be performed, using either Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) or Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs), following the equipment manufacturer’s guidelines, by personnel appropriately trained.

  4. Screening must be performed in both ears and recorded in the medical record and on the Birth Score Developmental Risk Screen.

  5. If unable to screen the baby before discharge, the infant must be referred for a non-hospital-administered hearing screening test. Responsibility for the referral rests with the primary care provider, in collaboration with the local Right From The Start agency.

  6. If the newborn does not pass the initial Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs) screening test, a second Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs) or an initial Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test should be attempted prior to hospital discharge. For an Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) screening, one test is sufficient.

  7. All screening test results should be reported to parents, guardians, and primary care provider prior to the infant’s discharge.

  8. If an infant fails the initial and second screening tests in one or both ears, the parents and the primary care provider should be advised. Arrangements for diagnostic testing should be made by the primary care provider or other designated staff as soon as possible. Right From The Start personnel will be contacted to offer assistance with this process. The Bureau for Public Health will be following all cases requiring diagnostic testing, to assure that families with children who are experiencing hearing loss are linked to appropriate community-based services.

Basic Assumption

  • There will be infants with normal hearing who do not pass the screening.
  • There will be infants who pass the screening test but do have a hearing loss.
  • Diagnostic testing will identify the infants with hearing impairment.


Project Policy will be shared with hospitals, primary care providers, Right From The Start personnel, etc.

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