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Paediatr Child Health. 2011 May;16(5):301-10.

Universal newborn hearing screening.

[Article in English, French]


The present statement reviews the evidence for universal newborn hearing screening (UNHS). A systematic review of the literature was conducted using Medline and using search dates from 1996 to the third week of August 2009. The following search terms were used: neonatal screening AND hearing loss AND hearing disorders. The key phrase "universal newborn hearing screening" was also searched. The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and systematic reviews was searched. Three systematic reviews, one controlled non-randomized trial and multiple cohort studies were found. It was determined that there was satisfactory evidence to support UNHS. The results of the available literature are consistent and indicate clear evidence that without UNHS, delayed diagnosis leads to significant harm for children and their families; with UNHS, diagnosis and intervention occur earlier; earlier intervention translates to improved language outcomes; and in well-run programs, there is negligible harm from screening.


Deafness; Early intervention; Hearing screening; Newborns

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