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J Pediatr. 1998 Sep;133(3):353-7.

The Rhode Island Hearing Assessment Program: experience with statewide hearing screening (1993-1996)

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Brown University School of Medicine and Rhode Island Hearing Assessment Program, Women and Infants' Hospital, Providence 02905, USA.



The objective of this study was to evaluate key outcomes of a universal hearing screen/rescreen program for all births with transient evoked otoacoustic emissions in all 8 maternity hospitals in the state of Rhode Island over a 4-year period.


This was a retrospective analysis of the hearing screen/rescreen refer data collected prospectively for 53,121 survivors born in Rhode Island between January 1, 1993, and December 31, 1996. Primary outcomes included the first-stage refer rates, rescreen compliance, diagnostic referral rates, identification rates, and the age of amplification.


During this 4-year time period 11 infants were identified with permanent hearing loss, resulting in an impairment rate of 2 per 1000. The mean age of hearing loss confirmation decreased from 8.7 months to 3.5 months, and the age at amplification declined from 13.3 months to 5.7 months.


We conclude that time and experience are important factors in the development and refinement of a universal hearing screen program. Hearing screen outcome data collected over a 4-year period in Rhode Island reveal a steady improvement in the percent of infants completing the 2-stage screen process, the stage 1 and stage 2 refer rates, compliance with rescreen and diagnostic testing, and significant improvement in the age of identification and age of amplification.

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