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Newborn Screening - Hearing

As soon as babies are born, they start to learn speech and language skills by listening and watching how people communicate around them. Hearing issues may delay a baby’s speech and language development. Early identification of hearing issues is important so you and your baby have the interventions and support you need to maximize your baby’s development. Newborns in Wisconsin are screened for 48 disorders, including hearing loss. Each of these disorders is very rare and can lead to lifelong issues if they go undiagnosed. 

What is Newborn Hearing Screening?

Wisconsin law requires that all babies have a newborn hearing screening completed before they leave the hospital. Babies born at home are required to receive a hearing screening within 30 days, which is arranged by the midwife or primary care provider. Hearing screening is a safe and painless way to check that your baby is hearing normally and can indicate if further follow-up is needed. The hearing test can be performed while your baby is comfortably sleeping or being held.

  • A pass result means your baby’s hearing is normal at the time of the screening. Your baby’s doctor may still recommend additional follow-up based on your baby’s individual medical history.
  • A refer result means more testing is needed. An audiologist can perform additional testing to determine how well your baby is hearing.

Hearing loss can develop at any time during a person's lifetime. Be sure to discuss any concerns related to your child's hearing and/or speech development with your child's healthcare provider.

What does Newborn Hearing Screening offer?

  • Access to hearing screening and follow-up testing
  • Access to intervention referral system
  • Strengthening family support through results and diagnosis education
  • Positive communication and collaboration between caregivers, primary care provider, audiologist, and Regional Outreach Coordinator
  • Community resources

Who can I contact?

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