Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Programme
Newborn hearing screening has become the expected standard of care internationally. Programmes have been established in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia and a growing number of other countries.
In response to the success of these programmes in other countries, in 2007 the Government announced that it would fund newborn hearing screening for all eligible babies in New Zealand.
This programme is jointly led by the Ministries of Health and Education to ensure that babies who have hearing loss receive ongoing support.
The Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Programme (UNHSEIP) aims to identify newborns with hearing loss early so they can get the help they need as soon as possible to help their language, learning and social development. This is important for the children as well as their families/whānau and society.
The core goals of the UNHSEIP are based on international programme measures and are described as '1-3-6' goals:
1. Babies to be screened by 1 month of age
3. Audiology assessment completed by 3 months of age
6. Starting appropriate medical and audiological services, and early intervention education services, by 6 months of age.
In this section
Your baby may have screening before leaving the hospital and at the latest, screening should be finished by the time baby is 1 month old.
This diagram guides you through the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening process.
The Universal Newborn Hearing Screening and Early Intervention Programme (UNHSEIP) uses a two stage aABR screening test to screen for hearing loss.
Find answers to some commonly asked questions about the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Programme. 5. How will my baby’s hearing be screened? Your baby will be screened using aABR (Automated Auditory Brainstem Response): soft sounds are played through an ear cushion. The response from your baby’s hearing nerve is picked up through special sensors that are placed on your baby’s head. The screen is painless and will not harm your baby. The aABR test will take 10-20 minutes if your baby is settled or sleeping.
There is a wealth of knowledge available on the internet. Below are some recommended sites.
These resources, and other resources provided by the Ministry of Health, are available to order from the Ministry of Health's HealthEd website.
Many New Zealanders participate in screening programmes and have their own stories to tell. We are privileged to be able to share some of those stories.
Hearing screening is performed by your local DHB.