Current UK NSC recommendations > Hearing (newborn)

The UK NSC recommendation on Hearing screening for newborns

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme recommended
Last review completed July 2006
Next review due in n/a

Evidence to support continuation or cessation of existing screening programmes should be reviewed regularly. The process for this is currently being revised, which is why this topic does not currently have a review date. The new process will be published in due course. Each programme has an active portfolio of research, evidence and audit to support continual improvement. Find out more about newborn hearing screening in England.


Find general information about population health screening.

More about Hearing (newborn)

The incidence of significant permanent congenital hearing impairment (PCHI) is about 1 in 1,000 live births in most developed countries although this may be 3-4 times higher in certain communities or parts of the UK. The incidence almost doubles by ten years of age because of acquired hearing loss from meningitis (see entry), mumps, measles, trauma and other causes. The most common reason for PCHI is loss of hair cells in the inner ear but it is sometimes due to malformation of the middle ear ossicles (small bones that transmit vibrations of the ear drum) or the ear canal (tube from the outer to the inner ear). If the hearing loss is due to a problem within the inner ear (sensory), or occasionally due to abnormalities in the hearing nerve (neural), the term sensorineural hearing loss is used. Hearing loss due to a problem within the middle ear or the outer ear is called a conductive hearing loss while a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss is called a mixed loss.

» Read more about hearing and deafness on NHS Choices

Screening in the UK

Compare how screening is offered across the UK.


Action on Hearing Loss
The British Association of Audiovestibular Physicians
British Association of Perinatal Medicine
British Society of Audiology
Communication Trust
Faculty of Public Health
Institute of Child Health
National Deaf Children's Society
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Midwives
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.

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