Children With Sensorineural Hearing Loss After Passing the Newborn Hearing Screen

The authors analyzed the findings of children who passed their newborn hearing screen and were subsequently found to have childhood hearing loss. They identified 923 children with hearing loss from 2001 to 2011. Of that number 78 were found who had passed the newborn hearing screening hearing test.

The suspicion of hearing loss was raised by parental concerns in 28 [36%] and by failed school hearing screens in 25 [32%]. Speech and language delay and failed primary care physician screens accounted for 17% and 12%, respectively. Audiogram results were bilaterally symmetric in 42 [54%], asymmetric in 16 [21%]), and unilateral in 20 [26%]. Thirty-seven patients (47%) had severe or profound hearing loss. The cause was unknown in 42 patients (54%); the remaining was attributed to genetics in 13 [17%], anatomic abnormality in 11 [14%], acquired since birth in = 9 [12%], and related to auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder in 3 [4%].

Conclusions: This large study identified children who were later found to have hearing loss in spite of passing the newborn hearing screening test. Parental concerns and school hearing screens were the most common method to diagnose the hearing loss. Families and primary care physicians may have a false sense of security when infants pass newborn hearing screening testing and may overlook symptoms of hearing loss. This study suggests that 8.4% of children who have hearing loss are not discovered with newborn hearing screening. This study raises the question whether further screens would identify hearing loss in children after passing the NHS.


  1. Children with sensorineural hearing loss after passing the newborn hearing screen., Dedhia, Kavita, Kitsko Dennis, Sabo Diane, and Chi David H. , JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg, 2013 Feb, Volume 139, Issue 2, p.119-23, (2013)