HOSPITAL HEARING SCREENING REQUIREMENT SUMMARYAll infants born in a facility or transferred to a facility must have either an OAE or ABR hearing screening test performed prior to discharge from the hospital.

  • Either OAE or ABR is acceptable for infants in the well-baby nursery. 
  • ABR is the recommended technology for use with infants with a stay of 5 days or greater in the NICU. These infants are at greater risk for auditory neuropathy which cannot be diagnosed with OAE alone.
  • Only one test on both ears is required to "pass" the screening. 
  • Waiting until the infant is at least 24 hours on a vaginal delivery and 48 hours on a C-Section delivery is optimal for a valid screening
  • The hearing screening must be attempted at least two and NOT MORE THAN FOUR TIMES before a child is considered to fail or "refer" the hearing screening. 
  • Repeat screening should not take place back to back but rather with some time interval between repeated testing


If a child is transferred to another facility, the accepting facility is responsible for screening prior to discharge home.

  • This facility is also responsible for reporting the results to the LDH Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program. 
  • In addition, children unable to be tested due to death must be reported.


Screening may be performed only by appropriately trained professionals supervised by a licensed audiologist or physician with training in infant hearing screening.

All hospitals are required to repeat the hearing screening prior to discharge if an infant is readmitted to the hospital within the first month of life when there is a condition associated with potential hearing loss (e.g. hyperbilirubinemia requiring exchange transfusion or culture-positive sepsis).


If the child "refers for further testing" in either one or both ears, the discharging hospital should provide the family with a follow-up rescreening appointment for the infant and educational information for the family.

  • This appointment can be with an audiologist or the primary care physician, if the physician has the capability and proper equipment to perform the screening.


The discharging hospital is required to send a copy of the initial newborn hearing screening results to the primary care physician (PCP) if known when the infant leaves the hospital.

  • Keep in mind this is usually the physician listed on the child's records in the hospital, and often is not the long-term primary care provider