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Toolkit for Families of Children with Special Healthcare Needs - Hearing Loss

Tip 5:  Schedule follow-up appointments after newborn hearing screening before you are discharged from the birth hospital

The initial hearing screen takes place at the birth hospital prior to discharge. If you had a home birth, you may have taken your child to an audiology office or to a local hospital for screening. Sometimes in the hospital, the screeners may screen more than once to get a good reading (but should not be done more than twice), but that is still considered the initial screen.

If your child fails the initial screen, you will return for the outpatient hearing screen or rescreen appointment. Sometimes, babies that do not pass the screen have fluid in their ears, (you may have heard this at the hospital from your screener) and so a rescreen is performed prior to sending a child on to diagnostic evaluation. PLEASE DON’T ASSUME it’s just fluid in the ears! It may, or may not be, which is why you need to return for the rescreen.

What We Learned in this Project
• Some families of children that “referred” after newborn hearing screening were leaving the birth hospital without a follow-up appointment.
• The need to re-contact the family after discharge to set up the appointment introduced an additional step at which families could be lost-to-follow-up.
• Families discharged at nights, weekends and on public holidays were particularly likely to leave the birth hospital without an appointment.

What We Did
• Developed a process whereby families received a follow-up appointment (either for a re-screen or a diagnostic audiologic evaluation, depending on protocol) before discharge from the birth hospital.
• Tested use of on-line appointment systems that could be accessed out of office hours.

Be Proactive
• Work with the birth hospital to ensure that you get the results of your child’s hearing screen both verbally and in writing and get any follow-up appointments booked before you leave the birth hospital. That way, you will have the result to show to your primary care provider, and there is less chance that your appointment will be missed. Click here for a sample of a form for written results of hearing screening.

Where to get complete information if you are currently going through Newborn Hearing Screening

General Information:

Family Support:

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