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).