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What It Is

Hearing loss is the most common birth defect, occurring at a rate of three in every 1,000 children. The Office for Children with Special Health Care Needs manages the state Newborn Hearing Screening Program, which ensures that all newborns receive a hearing screening before leaving the hospital. Newborn hearing screening is the first step in identifying infants with hearing loss and prescribing follow-up care.

The goal of Kentucky’s Newborn Hearing Screening program is to identify congenital hearing loss in children by 3 months of age and enroll them in appropriate early intervention by 6 months of age. Kentucky hospitals currently screen 98 percent of newborns before they leave the hospital.

Support to Hospitals

  • establishing protocols for testing, reporting and training; 
  • setting standards for screening based on accepted national standards of care; and
  • providing quality assurance consults from audiologists who can assist in establishing protocols and troubleshooting.

Support to Families

  • tracking and follow-up for infants referred by hospital screening programs;
  • audiology consultants to help families locate diagnostic, medical management, hearing aid assessment and funding services, early intervention and other resources (click here for Infant Audiology Resource List PDF file);
  • direct audiology services in 11 regional offices; and 
  • connections to parent support groups.

For more information about Newborn Hearing Screening, call (voice or TTY) (877) 757-HEAR (4327).