Objective: To determine the feasibility of universal newborn hearing screening, including intervention of identified infants, in the state of New York.
Design: The New York State Department of Health issued a request for proposals that invited regional perinatal centers to apply for funding to implement universal newborn hearing screening. Hospitals were free to choose their own protocols but were to use physiologically based measures to screen infants for possible hearing loss. Criteria for passing the screening measures were common across sites. Infants failing the screening were to have diagnostic testing. Identified infants were to be followed by the state's Early Intervention Program and its associated Infant-Child Health Assessment Program.
Results: Seven regional perinatal centers (eight hospitals) representing the various regions of the state were funded for 3 yr to implement universal newborn hearing screening and follow-up of identified infants. Detailed data analysis was performed for inpatient, outpatient, and intervention outcome measures and for the various protocols. Most of the outcome measures were analyzed in terms of year of program operation, nursery type, and geographic region of the state.
Conclusions: Universal newborn hearing screening was feasible in regional perinatal centers across the state of New York. The average ages of identification of hearing loss, hearing aid fitting, and enrollment in early intervention were less than those reported in published studies where universal newborn hearing screening was not in place.