Neonatal hearing screening model: An Italian regional experience

M. G. Calevo, P. Mezzano, E. Zullino, P. Padovani, F. Scopesi, G. Serra, D. Panico, A. Agnese, V. Visino, M. C. Poggi, M. Goslino, G. Garaventa, A. Allodi, E. Mora, P. Santini, G. Ottonello, V. Tarantino, R. Renda, D. Cosso, A. MuraL. Perroni, F. Dagna Bricarelli, S. Maccarone, L. Mazzarello, R. Franchini, A. Morchio, M. F. Corona, M. De Ciccio, G. Zaccagnini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. To produce a model for routine centralized hearing screening including all aspects of the screening, from diagnosis to psychological counseling and early rehabilitation. Methods. A prospective observational study on a geographically defined pediatric population (Liguria region, northwestern Italy) and data collection in a data bank. The model proposed was created for the audiological screening of all newborns of the Liguria region. The model includes four phases: (1) preliminary identification of contractual, administrative, legal aspects; (2) screening for identification of congenital hearing impairment; (3) therapy and rehabilitation of identified subjects and genetic analysis; (4) epidemiology, data management, and workload management. To test the feasibility of the model proposed and to establish the workload required according to the resources available in the regional health plan, we performed a pilot study on all infants born in four of the 13 regional birth centers of Liguria region from 1 April 2001 to 30 September 2001. Results. Out of the 3268 newborns enrolled during the 6-month pilot study, 3238 (99.1%) were screened with otoacoustic emissions (OAE), while screening was refused in 30 newborns (0.9%). OAE resulted in a 'pass' for 3180 newborns (98.2%) and a 'refer' in 58 (1.8%). The standard auditory brainstem response (ABR) test was performed in 156 newborns, 58 of them as a result of the 'refer' at the second OAE and 98 others at audiological risk. Results were positive or uncertain at first ABR in 45 patients. Workload was calculated on the basis of the data obtained in the pilot study to allocate financial and organizational resources. Conclusions. The results of the pilot study allowed project planning. We think that the screening model proposed is an example of how a regional organization can deliver improved quality care through a rationalization and optimization process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-448
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Infant screening
  • Otoacoustic emission (OAE)
  • Permanent childhood hearing impairment
  • Standard auditory brainstem response (ABR)
  • Universal neonatal hearing screening (UNHS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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