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  • Percent of children screened for hearing loss:
  • Incidence of permanent hearing loss among newborns:

Current Status of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention for Children

The UNHS and targeted surveillance program, Healthy Hearing, was piloted in the state of Queensland, Australia, in September 2004, with full implementation achieved by December 2006. Currently, hearing screening is offered in 62 hospitals in Queensland, with a coverage of >99%. The UNHS program uses a two-staged automated auditory brainstem response (aABR) screening protocol that is performed by enrolled or registered nurses or midwives trained in aABR. Results are presented as either a “pass” or “refer.” If a “refer” result is obtained in one or both ears, the infant is given a second screen. On the second screen, if a “refer” result is once again obtained in one or both ears, the child is referred to an audiology clinic for diagnostic testing. During the newborn hearing screen, all parents are interviewed by the nurse/midwife who performed the screen regarding the potential for risk factors that may lead to a postnatal hearing loss. The infant's and mother's medical charts are also reviewed for possible risk factors. If one or more risk factors are identified, the child is referred to the targeted surveillance program for audiological monitoring. If no risk factors are present, the parents are given a checklist to monitor the child's auditory behavior and advised to seek medical opinion if concerns arise.


  • Population: 22,507,617 (July 2014 est.)
  • Number of Annual Births (2012 est): 307,000
  • Birth rate: 12.19 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
  • Percent of GDP spent on health care (2011): 9% of GDP (2011)
  • Percent of Health Care expenditures spent by government: 17% (2006)
  • Physician density: 3.85 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
  • Percent of newborns attended by skilled providers: 99%
  • Infant Mortality: 4.43 deaths/1,000 live births
  • Literacy (age 15 and over can read and write): 96%
  • Percent of children screened for hearing loss:
  • Incidence of permanent hearing loss among newborns

Publications about EHDI Programs in Australia

  1. Russ, S.A., Rickards, F., Poulakis, Z., Barker, M., Saunders, K., and Wake, M. 2002. Six year effectiveness of a population based two tier infant hearing screening programme. Archives of Disease in Childhood 86:245-250.
  2. Barker MJ, Hughes EK, Wake M. NICU-only versus universal screening for newborn hearing loss: Population audit. J Paediatr Child Health. 2013 Jan;49(1):E74-9.
  3. Colgan S, Gold L, Wirth K, Ching T, Poulakis Z, Rickards F, Wake M. The cost-effectiveness of universal newborn screening for bilateral permanent congenital hearing impairment: systematic review. Acad Pediatr. 2012 May-Jun;12(3):171-80.

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