Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Programme

Parents with baby
Newborn hearing screening checks whether your baby hears well. If your baby has a hearing loss, finding it early will help their language, learning and social development. All eligible babies can have newborn hearing screening free of charge.

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.

Programme Aim

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.

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Page last updated: 21 November 2014