Updated On Feb 25, 2022
This information is meant to be used for educational purposes to inform providers, patients, and genetic service delivery stakeholders about genetics policy topics. Sharing of information, resources, or policy statements is no way an endorsement of stated positions by NCC.
Hearing screening can be done on newborns as part of the public health program administered by each state to identify specific health conditions soon after birth. Through newborn screening, nearly 4 million babies are screened every year for a range of serious conditions that once identified can be treated or intervened upon by healthcare providers. One of these conditions, hearing loss, is expected to be present in 1-2 of every 1,000 babies.
In general, newborn screening is intended to test babies for conditions that are not readily apparent at birth, can seriously affect health, and are treatable or for which some type of intervention exists. Some hearing loss is treatable and early treatment can lead to better outcomes by maximizing speech and language development. One consideration for providers to be aware of is that some members of the deaf community do not view hearing loss as a disability and do not feel it should be treated.
For more information, please visit our policy page regarding newborn screening.
Legislation and Regulation
As newborn screening is a state-based program, each state determines which conditions are screened for, how the screen is paid for, and how follow-up and treatment is handled. For more information on newborn screening in your state, visit the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) Newborn Screening website or Baby’s First Test.
Are you interested in learning what your state’s government or the federal government are currently proposing for either legislation or regulation? Check out Legislative/Tracking system for up-to-date information and subscribe to our Twitter channel to get the latest updates in your pocket.
Organizations working within the genetics community (national genetic organizations, advocacy organizations, etc.) have published positions on newborn hearing screening. Explore these position statements below.