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The Newborn Hearing Screening Programme is a national screening programme that is delivered by Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust working in conjunction with health, education and social care organisations in Gloucestershire.

Screening is offered to all families with newborn babies who are registered with a GP in Gloucestershire. The aim of the programme is to provide an efficient, family-friendly service to undertake hearing screening of all newborn babies and identify any babies that need further testing for a Permanent Childhood Hearing Impairment. The programme also provides ongoing specialist hearing assessments and a wide range of advice and support programmes for any babies identified.

All parents of newborns should be offered a hearing screen for their child and should received information about the screening. Gloucestershire offers a community service for hearing screening and the screen is offered in the family home by a member of the Public Health Nursing team usually at around 11-14 days old. Babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) who have been there for over 48hrs may be seen there prior to discharge. If not, they will be offered an outpatient appointment in Hearing Services at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

The hearing screening test is only performed with the verbal consent of a person with parental responsibility.  If a baby is identified as needing a referral for diagnostic testing they will also see Audiology and possibly a Specialist Paediatrician, and Advisory Teachers.

The screening tests will not harm your baby in any way and should only take a few minutes if the conditions are right. Your baby needs to be calm and quiet for the test. A feed prior to the appointment is often helpful. If you have toddlers in the home, a quiet activity to entertain them during the test is helpful.