Researchers identified the reasons families do not return with newborns for early hearing screening in a timely fashion in five States. The success of infant hearing screening has been impressive. According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2005, at least 91.5 percent of all infants in the US were screened for hearing loss. National data suggests nearly half of newborns that failed screening did not return for one or more follow-up services (a hearing re-screen, formal hearing test, medical diagnosis, or intervention). The full value of newborn hearing screening will not be reached unless high rates are also achieved for follow-up services. The purposes of the project were to explore and document factors that contribute to loss to follow-up including system, cost, and personal barriers. Data collection included focus groups with parents, physicians, advocates and program staff, a survey of new mothers prior to hospital discharge, and a telephone survey of mothers whose infants had been referred for additional re-screening or diagnosis.
Although overall completion rates to follow-up and diagnosis were quite high among the women surveyed, a number of barriers to follow-up need to be addressed. These include shortage of audiologists in rural areas and those trained to work with infants, inadequate private and Medicaid coverage, physician knowledge and attitudes about early hearing screening, too little information and communication with the family, and a lack of systematic links from screening through intervention.
Report Title: Assessment of Loss to Follow-Up in State Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Programs
Agency Sponsor: CDC, Centers for Disease Control; Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program (EHDI)
Federal Contact: Pam Costa, 404-498-3027
Performer: Research Triangle Institute (RTI International)
PIC ID: 7872