Hearing Screening

Children after newborn hearing screening thru 20 years

The Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) Hearing screening program is intended to identify children in need of further diagnosis and treatment.

Children continue to need to be screened for hearing loss beyond the New Born period. Newborns can be lost to follow-up and not all hearing loss can be identified at birth; progressive and late-onset hearing loss may occur throughout the early childhood years. It is estimated that 35% of preschoolers will have repeated ear infections that nearly always cause a temporary hearing loss that can significantly disrupt language acquisition and other education progress (ASHA, 2004). Hence, continuous hearing screening programs are critical for identifying a wide range of hearing health needs that are not identified though hospital-based new born hearing screening programs.

Because so much learning is accomplished through the sense of hearing, screenings are essential to help identify any barriers that would impair a children’s ability to learn. Early identification and treatment can prevent or at least alleviate many of the problems that result from impaired hearing. Screening is the most practical approach to identify children in need of professional services. The MDH hearing screening guidelines are recommended for children in Child & Teen Checkups, Head Start Programs, Early Childhood Screening and school aged screening programs.

The MDH Hearing screening Guidelines listed on this website are for screening children after the newborn hearing screening time period, i.e. 2 months to 21 years. These guidelines provide tools for history taking and procedures for puretone audiometry, the ‘gold standard’ for hearing screening of children who have the ability to indicate a response to a tone (usually by raising a hand). This usually occurs around age 3 years old.