Twenty neonates in a special care baby unit (SCBU) were tested using automated procedures for obtaining auditory brainstem responses (ABR) and transient evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAE). All 40 ears passed the initial ABR screen, while the pass rate for the TEOAE screen was only 52.5%. Ears with no external or middle ear abnormalities (group A) had a significantly higher TEOAE pass rate (94.7%) than those with at least one abnormality (group B) as detected by otoscopic examination and tympanometry (14.3%). Other variables, such as age at test, gestational age at birth and birth weight, did not differ significantly between groups A and B. We conclude that external/middle ear abnormalities in this group of neonates had no effect on the ABR screening results, but had a significant effect on the TEOAE screening results.