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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)

Located in the southern part of the Persian Gulf, Oman has approximately 2.4 million inhabitants and 41 000 annual births. As a result of the emphasis on easily accessible primary health care, optimum utilization of health services and community participation, Oman was ranked 5th among WHO Member States in health service utilization in 2000. More than 95% of births are in hospitals. Hearing loss has been targeted as a priority health problem since 1995, and was identified as one of the leading causes of disease burden in Oman in 2000. In 2001, Oman incorporated the establishment of universal newborn hearing screening into its 6th National 5 Year Health Plan.

In 2008, approximately 72% of all neonates were screened using a two-stage protocol. First-stage OAE testing is usually performed by a nurse in the maternity or paediatric department when the baby is 24–48 hours old. Babies who fail this test are tested again before the mother leaves the maternity ward. If hearing impairment is suspected, the baby is referred to ENT staff at the birth hospital who carry out the second-stage screening at about 6 weeks of age. At that time, the infant receives a physical examination and a repeat of the screening test using OAE. Infants who fail this second-stage screening are referred to the audiology unit at Al-Nahdha hospital in Muscat. At this tertiary care centre, infants are evaluated using OAE and ABR. If they are found to have sensorineural hearing impairment, an appropriate hearing aid or cochlear implant is prescribed. Monthly screening progress and other tracking data for infants suspected of having hearing impairment are reported through the health information system coordinated by Al-Nahdha hospital.

Technical and other obstacles identified so far have included:

  • frequent breakdown of machines;
  • unavailability of probes in good time;
  • uneven distribution of machines; and
  • problems associated with multiple stakeholders.

Despite these obstacles, the goal of screening all neonates for hearing loss is expected to be achieved during the course of the coming 7th National 5 Year Health Plan.


  • Population (2012 est): 3,090,150
  • Number of Annual Births (2012 est): 75,200
  • Birth rate: 24.33 per 1,000
  • Percent of GDP spent on health care (2009): 2.1%
  • Percent of Health Care expenditures spent by government: 75.5%
  • Physician density: 1.901 per 1,000
  • Percent of newborns attended by skilled providers: 100%
  • Infant Mortality: 14.95 per 1,000
  • Literacy (age 15 and over can read and write): 81.4%

Publications about EHDI Programs in Oman (maximum of 5)

  1. R., Khabori, M., Jaffer Mohammed, A., and Gupta, R. 2006. Neonatal screening for hearing impairment - Oman experince. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology 70 (4):663-670.
  2. 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.
  3. World Health Organization. 2010. Newborn and infant hearing screening- current issues and guiding principles for action. WHO Report 2010:1-39.

Person responsible for most recent update: