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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 Health Surveillance Programme, which is conducted free at polyclinics, was introduced more than 2 decades ago. Hearing screening is done at 3, 6, 9, 15, 18, 36 and 48 months of age by asking caregivers simple questions related to hearing and using subjective free field audiometry with crude testing materials such as rattles. Not uncommonly, even children with severe to profound hearing are not detected early enough, let alone children with mild to moderate hearing loss. Hearing screening in the private sector is, in general, even more subjective and inconsistent. It appears that there are some who do not even attempt to screen for hearing loss. Of those who do, there is little uniformity in the schedule or methods of testing among different doctors. In both public and private sectors, hearing screening is performed only on infants who turn up for immunisation. According to the Ministry of Health’s annual report in 1999, 4% of children in Singapore are not immunised and hence, are not screened for hearing loss. In April 2002, UNHS was implemented in KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKWCH), which accounted for approximately one-third of deliveries (or 15,000 per year) in Singapore. Besides sponsoring a 1-year free screening in KKWCH, the Ministry of Health also provided screening equipment in 17 polyclinics to screen infants who had not had UNHS. The UNHS programmes in the restructured hospitals and polyclinics share a common database, using the Hi-Track Software. Over the following 2 years, all 6 private hospitals with delivery facilities also introduced UNHS programmes.


  • Population: 5,567,301 (July 2014 est.)
  • Number of Annual Births (2012 est): 47,000
  • Birth rate: 8.1 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
  • Percent of GDP spent on health care (2011): 4.6% of GDP (2011)
  • Percent of Health Care expenditures spent by government: 33.1% (2006)
  • Physician density: 1.92 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
  • Percent of newborns attended by skilled providers: 100%
  • Infant Mortality: 2.53 deaths/1,000 live births
  • Literacy (age 15 and over can read and write): 95.9%
  • Percent of children screened for hearing loss:
  • Incidence of permanent hearing loss among newborns

Publications about EHDI Programs in Singapore

  1. Low, W.K., Pang, K.Y., Ho L.Y., Lim, S.B., and Joseph, R. 2005. Universal newborn hearing screening in Singapore: The need, implementation, and challenges. Annals Academy of Medicine Singapore. 34 (4):301-306.
  2. Joseph, R., Tan, H.K., Low, K.T., Ng, P.G., Tunnel, J., and Mathew, S. 2003. Mass newborn screening for hearing impairment. Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health. 34 (2):229-230.
  3. Ngo RY, Tan HK, Balakrishnan A, Lazaroo D, Lim SB, Yan J. Auditory neuropathy detected by universal newborn hearing screening. Cochlear Implants Int. 2004 Sep;5 Suppl 1:206-8. doi: 10.1002/cii.234.

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