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What It Is

​​​​​​​​​​​Hearing loss is the most common birth defect, occurring in three in every 1,000 children. The Office for Children with Special Health Care Needs manages the state Newborn Hearing Screening Program which ensures all newborns receive a hearing screening before leaving the hospital. Newborn hearing screening is the first step in identifying infants with hearing loss and prescribing follow-up care.

The goal of Kentucky’s Newborn Hearing Screening program is to identify congenital hearing loss in children by three months of age and enroll them in appropriate early intervention by six months of age. Kentucky hospitals currently screen 98 percent of newborns before they leave the hospital.

Support to Hospitals

  • establishing protocols for testing, reporting and training; 
  • setting standards for screening based on accepted national standards of care; and
  • providing quality assurance consults from audiologists who can assist in establishing protocols and troubleshooting.

Support to Families

  • tracking and follow-up for infants referred by hospital screening programs;
  • audiology consultants to help families locate diagnostic, medical management, hearing aid assessment and funding services, early intervention and other resources;
  • direct audiology services in 11 regional offices; and 
  • connections to parent support groups.

For more information about Newborn Hearing Screening, call (voice or TTY) (877) 757-HEAR (4327).