Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Arabia

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

Current Status of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention for Children

Currently, the average age of detection of significant hearing loss is 14 months [4]. In 1994, the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH) stated that all infants with hearing loss should be identified before 3 months of age and receives intervention by 6 months. In their 2000 position statement, the JCIH set principles and guidelines for early hearing detection and intervention programs. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that a policy of universal neonatal hearing screening has to be adopted in all countries and communities with available rehabilitation services. That policy should be extended to other countries as ehabilitation services are established. Currently, there are three available methods of universal neonatal hearing screening programs: transient evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAE), automated auditory brainstem response (AABR), and a combination, all can be used for universal neonatal hearing screening. The total costs of newborn hearing screening and diagnosis are similar among the three methods. The goal of this study is to propose a Saudi universal neonatal hearing screening (UNHS) program based on transient evoked otoacoustic emission reporting the incidence of hearing impairment in this population and exploring the morbidity of hearing impaired infants. The first 3000 neonates of this series was published among many scientific trials evaluating TEOAE as neonatal hearing screening tool which concluded that a neonatal hearing screening based on TEOAE is an appropriate, feasible, accurate screening program.


  • Population: 27,345,986
  • Number of Annual Births (2012 est): 605,000
  • Birth rate: 18.78 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
  • Percent of GDP spent on health care (2011): 3.7% of GDP (2011)
  • Percent of Health Care expenditures spent by government: 8.7%
  • Physician density: 0.94 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
  • Percent of newborns attended by skilled providers: 100%
  • Infant Mortality: 14.58 deaths/1,000 live births
  • Literacy (age 15 and over can read and write): 86.6%
  • Percent of children screened for hearing loss: N/A
  • Incidence of permanent hearing loss among newborns: varies from 2.1%–17.5%

Publications about EHDI Programs in Saudi Arabia

  1. Habib HS, Abdelgaffar H. Neonatal hearing screening with transient evoked otoacoustic emissions in Western Saudi Arabia. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2005 Jun;69(6):839-42. Epub 2005 Feb 24. PubMed PMID: 15885338.
  2. Maisoun AM, Zakzouk SM. Hearing screening of neonates at risk. Saudi Med J. 2003 Jan;24(1):55-7. PubMed PMID: 12590276.

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