Am J Perinatol 2019; 36(03): 296-302
DOI: 10.1055/s-0038-1668170
Original Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Implementation of Updated Hearing Screen Guidelines in a Level IV NICU—A Quality Improvement Project

Lovya George
1   Department of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Children's Mercy-Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri
Jasminkumar B. Patel
1   Department of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Children's Mercy-Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri
Nesha Park
1   Department of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Children's Mercy-Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri
Winston M. Manimtim
1   Department of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Children's Mercy-Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

12 March 2018

01 July 2018

Publication Date:
06 August 2018 (online)


Hearing loss is the most common congenital birth defect. In 2007, American Academy of Pediatrics updated the hearing screen guidelines to recommend hearing screen by 1 month of age, diagnostic evaluation by 3 months, and early interventions by 6 months. Early interventions have been shown to improve developmental outcome in children with hearing loss. Infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are at higher risk for hearing loss. For infants born before 34 weeks' gestation, there are no guidelines for initial hearing screen. Although auditory brain stem response can be reliably performed at 32 to 34 weeks, in most NICUs, they are screened prior to discharge per universal hearing screen guidelines. In high-risk infants, often with prolonged hospitalization, this leads to missed opportunity for early detection and implementation of early intervention services. Using quality improvement methodology, an updated hearing screen algorithm was developed and implemented in our level IV NICU along with an electronic medical record tool to improve the process of identifying infants meeting criteria for hearing screen.

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