The Netherlands

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The Netherlands

  • 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 YHC programme for children from birth to the age of four years in the Netherlands is carried out by 57 regional YHC organizations. NHS was implemented gradually from July 2002 over a period of four years. Each year a number of organizations started implementation of NHS. The implementation process in each regional organization took one year. From July 2006 onwards all Dutch newborns have been offered NHS. Since 1965, distraction hearing screening had been offered nationally to infants in the Netherlands at the age of nine months. This test yielded many false positive results due to temporary conductive hearing losses induced by otitis media with effusion (OME). Also, the diagnosis of permanent childhood hearing impairment (PCHI) was usually made at an age of at least 18 months (Oudesluys-Murphy et al, 1995). As evidence accumulated regarding the benefits of starting intervention in a child with PCHI before the age of six months (Robinshaw, 1995; Apuzzo & Yoshinaga-Itano, 1995; Yoshinaga-Itano et al, 1998) and suitable equipment became available for newborn hearing screening, studies were conducted, investigating the most optimal manner of implementing uniform neonatal hearing screening (UNHS) in the Netherlands (Oudesluys-Murphy & Harlaar, 1997; van der Lem et al, 1998, Uilenburg et al, 2009). Based on these studies, a UNHS protocol was developed and gradually implemented nationwide in the Youth Health Care (YHC) during the period July 2002 – July 2006. Children needing neonatal intensive care (NICU) shortly after birth were excluded from the YHC hearing screening, as they are already screened in another programme 0Van Straaten, 2003). The aim of the Dutch UNHS programme is detection of all children with a permanent hearing loss of at least 40 dB in one or both ears before the age of four months, and start of interventions in children with permanent bilateral hearing loss before the age of six months. In this article a three-year overview is presented. The main aim of the current study is to investigate whether the quality of the Dutch UNHS programme is consistent over time , using the results of the nationwide implementation as a reference point.


• Population (2012 est): 16,795,000 • Number of Annual Births (2012 est): 180 • Birth rate: 10.89 • Percent of GDP spent on health care (2009): 12% • Percent of Health Care expenditures spent by government: 11.9% • Physician density: 3.921 physicians/1,000 population (2007) • Percent of newborns attended by skilled providers: 100% • Infant Mortality: 3.4 per 1000 • Literacy (age 15 and over can read and write): 99% • Percent of children screened for hearing loss: 92% • Incidence of permanent hearing loss among newborns: 3.2 per 1,000

Publications about EHDI Programs in The Nederlands

  1. Van Dommelen, P., van Straaten, H.L.M., Verkerk, P.H.; Dutch NICU Neonatal Hearing Screening Working Group. 2011 Ten-year quality assurance of the nationwide hearing screening programme in Dutch neonatal intensive care units. Acta Paediatrica. 1-7.
  2. Van der Ploeg CP, Uilenburg NN, Kauffman-de Boer MA, Oudesluys-Murphy AM, Verkerk PH. Newborn.
  3. Coenraad S., A. Goedegebure, L.J. Hoeve. An initial overestimation of sensorineural hearing loss in NICU infant failure on neonatal hearing screening. Int. J. Pediatr. Otorhinolaryngol., 75 (2011), pp. 159–162.
  4. Korver AM, Konings S, Meuwese-Jongejeugd A, van Straaten HL, Uilenburg N, Dekker FW, Wever CC, Frijns JH, Oudesluys-Murphy AM; DECIBEL Collaborative study group. National study of newborn hearing screening: programme sensitivity and characteristics of undetected children. B-ENT. 2013; Suppl 21:37-
  5. Uilenburg N, Kauffman-de Boer M, van der Ploeg K, Oudesluys-Murphy AM, Verkerk P. An implementation study of neonatal hearing screening in the Netherlands. Int J Audiol. 2009 Mar;48(3):108-16.

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