Newborn Screening Information for Providers:
Hearing Screening in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
The risk of hearing loss is reported to be 10 times greater among infants in the NICU than for infants in the well-baby nursery. Therefore, special attention must be given to screen infants in the NICU appropriately. Infants in the NICU for more than five days (who are presumed to be at increased risk for neural hearing loss), must have automated auditory brainstem response (AABR) included as part of their hearing screening.
Hearing screens may be "missed" when newborns are transferred from one hospital/unit to another. The receiving hospital/unit should always verify that the infant's hearing was screened before transfer and that results were sent to the Newborn Screening Program. If you cannot verify that an infant has been screened, please make arrangements for screening as soon as possible. It is preferable for an infant to be screened twice than to not be screened at all.
To help providers and facilities ensure that all transferred newborns receive screening, we recommend that birth hospitals preparing for transfer include the Hearing Screening Form for Transferred Infants (available free-of-charge on the Education Materials and Forms page) with the transport team to alert the receiving hospital/unit that a hearing screen has not yet been performed. The receiving hospital/unit should screen the infant's hearing, complete the form, and fax it to our staff as soon as possible.
Note: It is the responsibility of the hospital staff that discharges baby to home to make sure that hearing screening is complete and that results are reported.
The Minnesota Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) website provides many resources for primary care providers including best practice guidelines, tools for improvement, and free education materials.