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Soc Work Health Care. 2007;44(3):179-90.

Improvement of return rates in a Neonatal Hearing Screening Program: the contribution of social work.

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  • 1CEPRE - Center for Studies and Research in Rehabilitation, School of Medical Science - State University of Campinas, Campinas, SP Brazil.


This paper aims to describe the implementation of a Neonatal Hearing Screening Program in a school hospital, focusing on the return rates among infants who failed the first screening. The population who goes to the school hospital for health services comes mainly from economically underprivileged groups. Even though our previous return rates were comparable to those reported elsewhere, we felt it was important to improve the methodology of the screening process in order to try and obtain better results. Our hypothesis was that scarce knowledge on early hearing loss detection and on the benefits of early intervention could be reasons for mothers to give less importance to the second screening. So, a strategy was developed around the idea of providing very detailed information to the mothers about the screening process since preliminary data, gathered with a different group of in-patients, had shown that mothers possessed little knowledge about neonatal hearing screening and the consequences of hearing loss for children's development. The no-return rates decreased considerably (from 39.8% to 25.8%). The findings of this research showed both the need of an adequate way of imparting information to the mothers of newborns about hearing screening in economically underprivileged populations, and the role of social work in this process. Without adequate knowledge on hearing screening and the consequences of hearing loss, a high percentage of newborns may not take advantage of free universal hearing screening programs.

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