Newborn Hearing Screening Programme

The NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme (NHSP) offers all new parents the opportunity to have their baby’s hearing screened within the first few weeks of life. Early identification is known to be important for the development of the child, and ensures they receive the right support, treatment and information as early as possible.

If you give birth in hospital, you are likely to be offered a newborn hearing test for your baby before you're discharged. Otherwise you will be asked to attend an outpatients appointment. 

Ideally, the test is done in the first 4 to 5 weeks, but it can be done at up to 3 months of age.

Find and contact us

Royal Derby Hospital

Children's Outpatients, Level 1
Uttoxeter Road
DE22 3NE

Nearest entrance: Children's Entrance 18
Nearest car park: 5

Telephone: 01332 786 488

Queen's Hospital Burton 

Antenatal clinic, Level 1
Belvedere Road
Burton upon Trent 
DE13 0RB

Telephone : 01283 511 511 ext. 4225

Frequently Asked Questions

Why screen my baby’s hearing?

One to two babies in every 1000 are born with a hearing loss in one or both ears. This hearing screen will allow those babies who do have a hearing loss to be identified early. Early identification is known to be important for the development of the child. It also means that support and information can be provided to parents at an early stage.

No one in my family has a hearing loss, does my baby still need to have the hearing screen completed?

Yes. It is important to screen all babies. Most babies born with a hearing loss are born into families with no history of hearing loss.

When will the hearing screen be carried out?

The hearing screen is usually completed before you leave the maternity ward or labour ward if you are discharged early. However if the screen is not carried out then you will be asked to attend an outpatients appointment at the Derbyshire Children’s Hospital.

Will the hearing screen be painful for my baby?

No. It does not hurt and is not uncomfortable. The screening test will usually be done while your baby is asleep or settled and you can stay with your baby whilst the screen is carried out.

What does the hearing screen involve?

A trained hearing screener carries out the hearing screen. They place a small soft tipped earpiece in the outer part of your baby’s ear which sends clicking sounds down the ear. When an ear receives sound, the inner part, known as the ‘cochlea’ usually produces an echo. The screening equipment can pick up this response. This is called the Automated Otoacoustic Emission (AOAE) screen.

What if my baby needs a second hearing screen?

A lot of babies need to have a second hearing screen because the first screen didn’t show a clear response from one or both of baby’s ears. This does not necessarily mean that your baby has a hearing loss, some common reasons, other than hearing loss for having a second screen are:

  • your baby has become very unsettled at the time of screening
  • there may be background noise when the hearing screen was carried out
  • your baby may have fluid or a temporary blockage in the ear after birth

When will I get the results of the hearing screen?

The results will be given to you at the time of the screening test. If you have any concerns or questions about your baby’s result you can contact the hospital where the screening test was carried out.

The NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme has further information.