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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

Toward the end of 2009, the Israeli Ministry of Health issued a directive establishing a universal newborn hearing screening program in all hospitals in the country from 01.01.10 [14]. The objectives of this study are to evaluate a newly established universal newborn hearing screening program, to assess performance and to compare measurements of performance to performance benchmarks representing a consensus of expert opinion in the field of newborn hearing screening and intervention. The benchmarks are the minimal requirements that should be attained by high-quality early hearing detection programs [3]. This study was conducted at the Ziv Medical Center in Zefat, Israel. It is a government-owned hospital serving the popula1tion of the upper Galilee and the Golan heights. An audiology unit offering comprehensive diagnostic services is located within the hospital and has been performing behavioral and neurophysiological testing for many years. 3 part-time members of staff were recruited specifically for screening. Two of these are qualified audiologists and one is a biomedical technician. All staff members were trained in the use of the screening equipment and were made aware of the screening protocol. As specified by the Israeli Ministry of Health, a two-stage screening protocol was implemented. All neonates were initially tested using transient evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAE). Failure to detect TEOAE in one or both ears was considered a ‘‘refer’’ result. If a refer result was received, the test was repeated a day later. Neonates failing to pass the repeat TEOAE were referred for second stage screening using automated auditory brainstem response (A-ABR).


  • Population: 7,821,850
  • Number of Annual Births (2012 est): 156,000
  • Birth rate: 18.44 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
  • Percent of GDP spent on health care (2011): 7.7% of GDP (2011)
  • Percent of Health Care expenditures spent by government: 9.9% (2006)
  • Physician density: 3.11 physicians/1,000 population (2011)
  • Percent of newborns attended by skilled providers: N/A
  • Infant Mortality: 3.98 deaths/1,000 live births
  • Literacy (age 15 and over can read and write): 97.1%
  • Percent of children screened for hearing loss:
  • Incidence of permanent hearing loss among newborns: 10 infants in every 1000 births

Publications about EHDI Programs in Israel

  1. Attias, J., Al-Masri, M., and AbuKader, L. 2006. The prevalence of congenital and early-onset hearing loss in Jordanian and Israeli infants. International Journal of Audiology 45:528-536.
  2. Ari-Even Roth D, Hildesheimer M, Maayan-Metzger A, Muchnik C, Hamburger A, Mazkeret R, Kuint J. Low prevalence of hearing impairment among very low birthweight infants as detected by universal neonatal hearing screening. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2006 Jul;91(4):F257-62.
  3. Geal-Dor M, Adelman C, Levi H, Zentner G, Stein-Zamir C. Comparison of two hearing screening programs in the same population: oto-acoustic emissions (OAE) screening in newborns and behavioral screening when infants. Int J PediatrOtorhinolaryngol. 2010 Dec;74(12):1351-5.
  4. Gilbey P, Kraus C, Ghanayim R, Sharabi-Nov A, Bretler S. Universal newborn hearing screening in Zefat, Israel: the first two years. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2013 Jan;77(1):97-100.

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