The Rhode Island Hearing Assessment Program: experience with statewide hearing screening (1993-1996)

J Pediatr. 1998 Sep;133(3):353-7. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(98)70268-9.


Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate key outcomes of a universal hearing screen/rescreen program for all births with transient evoked otoacoustic emissions in all 8 maternity hospitals in the state of Rhode Island over a 4-year period.

Study design: This was a retrospective analysis of the hearing screen/rescreen refer data collected prospectively for 53,121 survivors born in Rhode Island between January 1, 1993, and December 31, 1996. Primary outcomes included the first-stage refer rates, rescreen compliance, diagnostic referral rates, identification rates, and the age of amplification.

Results: During this 4-year time period 11 infants were identified with permanent hearing loss, resulting in an impairment rate of 2 per 1000. The mean age of hearing loss confirmation decreased from 8.7 months to 3.5 months, and the age at amplification declined from 13.3 months to 5.7 months.

Conclusion: We conclude that time and experience are important factors in the development and refinement of a universal hearing screen program. Hearing screen outcome data collected over a 4-year period in Rhode Island reveal a steady improvement in the percent of infants completing the 2-stage screen process, the stage 1 and stage 2 refer rates, compliance with rescreen and diagnostic testing, and significant improvement in the age of identification and age of amplification.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Auditory Perception / physiology
  • Cochlea / physiology
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hearing / physiology*
  • Hearing Aids
  • Hearing Disorders / diagnosis
  • Hearing Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Hearing Disorders / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatal Screening*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Compliance
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rhode Island
  • Risk Factors