Screening and Exams
Newborn Hearing Screenings:
In Ohio, each hospital and freestanding birthing center are required to conduct a hearing screening on each ear of a newborn or infant, before discharge from the hospital. The specific language of the law states: “...conduct a hearing screening on each ear of every newborn or infant born in, admitted to, or transferred into a hospital or freestanding birthing center through the use of a physiologic test.... The hospital and freestanding birthing center shall conduct a second screening on newborn or infant, if the first screening in either ear was a non-pass”(Ohio Revised Code 3701-40-02(1-6)).
The two most common screening methods used with infant screenings include the otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) and auditory brainstem response (ABR). These methods can detect hearing loss averaging 30 to 40 decibels (dB) or more in the frequency region important for speech recognition, e.g., approximately 500–4000 Hertz (Hz).
School Age Screening
Regular school hearing screenings are an important method of identifying children for hearing loss. Early detection and treatment of hearing loss provide children the best opportunity to develop academically, emotionally, and socially. Even mild or unilateral hearing losses may be educationally significant. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) stresses that a hearing screening, while a valuable public health procedure, is not a substitute for a complete audiological/medical examination; however, to further ensure children who are deaf/hard of hearing are detected early, programs utilizing regulated and supervised screening procedures have become essential.
Ohio's Department of Health has developed requirements and guidelines for hearing screening, and the most recent version of these guidelines was updated in 2015 and is titled: Hearing Screening Requirements and Guidelines.