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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 (500 word limit)

UNHS pilot programs have been initiated in a few public and private birthing hospitals, such as hospital Sótero del Río and Clínica les Condes in Santiago de Chile (Godoy, 2003). If the baby does not pass the hearing screening, the birthing hospital refers the baby for a diagnostic evaluation with a fonoaudiólogo (i.e., a professional with knowledge of both Speech Language Pathology and Audiology). If the baby is diagnosed with hearing loss, the national social security system will pay for the hearing aids. The national social security system covers 70% to 75% of the total population. Speech and language therapy, and cochlear implants are also available to children with hearing loss. A public campaign was conducted in 2005 to promote the program among the general population. Although the program has existed for a few years, there are still several barriers that need to be overcome such as lack of financial support, equipment and qualified staff. The country plans to expand the program in the future to include all premature babies and eventually all babies born each year. To reach this final goal, fonoaudiólogos and special educators are being trained to provide the services needed by the target population. Also, several graduate schools are planning to start master programs in Audiology

Since July 2005, Chilean law has required targeted hearing screening using OAE and ABR technology for all premature newborns born prior to 32 weeks and weighing less than 1,500 grams that are discharged from the 28 facilities in the country with a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Although 8% to 10% of all births are at risk for hearing loss, this requirement results in approximately 1.0–1.3% of annual births being screened for hearing loss. The law also requires diagnostic and intervention services, the provision of bilateral hearing aids, and the reporting of results to a national database maintained by the Ministry of Health (Pittaluga, 2005).


  • Population (2012 est): 16,800,000
  • Number of Annual Births (2012 est): 250,000
  • Birth rate: 14.28 per 1,000
  • Percent of GDP spent on health care (2009): 7.5%
  • Percent of Health Care expenditures spent by government: 44.0%
  • Physician density: 1.09 per 1,000
  • Percent of newborns attended by skilled providers: 100%
  • Infant Mortality: 7.36 per 1,000
  • Literacy (age 15 and over can read and write): 95.7%

Publications about EHDI Programs in Chile (maximum of 5)

  1. Pittaluga, E. (2005). Guía clinica hipoacusia neurosensorial bilateral del prematuro.
  1. Godoy, (2003) Emisiones Otoacústicas y Métodos de Screening Auditivo en Recién Nacidos. Revista Medica, Área académica de Clínica Las Condes. 14 (1).
  1. Gerner de Garcia, B., Gaffney, C., Chacon, S., and Gaffney, M. 2011. Overview of newborn hearing screening activities in Latin America. Revista Panamericana de Salud Publica. 29 (3):145-152.
  1. Olusanya, B.O., Swanepoel, D.W., Chapchap, M.J., Castillo, S., Habib, H. Mukari, S.Z., Martinez, N.V., Lin, H.C., and McPherson, B. 2007. Progress towards early detection services for infants with hearing loss in developing countries BMC Health Service Research 7:14.

Person responsible for most recent update:

Name: Enrica Pittaluga

Affiliation: Neonatologist @ Hospital Sotero del Rio