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Universal Neonatal Hearing Screening (UNHS) is an increasingly popular strategy for the early detection of congenital hearing loss. It describes the use of objective testing methodologies (usually otoacoustic emission (OAE) testing or automated auditory brainstem response (AABR) testing) to screen the hearing of the whole population of newborns in a particular target region.
Targeted neonatal hearing screening or just targeted screening conversely describes the process by which only a specific target population within a region are screened (for instance those infants in the neonatal intensive care unit or with risk factors for hearing loss).
Prevalence of Congenital Hearing Loss
Typically a two stage process occurs in the actual screening of the hearing. Children are screened with either OAE's or AABR. Children passing the test receive no further assessment. Children who fail the initial screen are usually referred for a second screening assessment either with OAE's or AABR. Children failing this second assessment will usually be sent for diagnostic assessment of their hearing. There is some variation in procedure by region and country but most follow this basic principle.
Screening personnel vary also, in some regions Audiologists are used, whereas technicians, nurses, or volunteers are used in other systems.
- School hearing screening programs
- Universal Newborn Hearing Screening: Summary of Evidence Diane C. Thompson, Heather McPhillips, Robert L. Davis, Tracy A. Lieu, Charles J. Homer, Mark Helfand JAMA. 2001;286(16):2000-2010. doi:10.1001/jama.286.16.2000
- Wrightson AS. (2007) Universal newborn hearing screening. Am Fam Physician. 2007 May 1;75(9):1349-52. Review. PMID 17508530 http://www.aafp.org/afp/2007/0501/p1349.html
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