To determine the coverage and outcome of Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS) Program in Government Medical College Manjeri, South India. To study the prevalence of hearing loss (HL) among those children screened, to describe the characteristics of confirmed cases, and the status of speech and language development acquired by them at follow up.


Hospital based retro prospective study.


Data were collected from all newborns who underwent Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS) over a four-year period (November 2014 to October 2018). Cases with confirmed hearing loss were studied by pre-structured questionnaire and telephonic interview. Speech and language assessments of 10 confirmed cases were conducted after a period of intervention.


Out of 17,260 babies, 16,625 were screened (96.3%). HL was confirmed for 13 of these, resulting in a prevalence rate of 0.08%. Risk factors for HL were not present in 61.5% of these cases. Confirmation was done at a median age of 6 months with an Interquartile Range (IQR) (4; 12). Interventions in the form of speech therapy and hearing aid were started at a median age of 17.5 months with an IQR (13;25) and the median duration of intervention till the time of assessment was 30 months with an IQR (17;43) Out of 13, five children were managed with hearing aid. Another five required cochlear implant at a median age of 24 months with an IQR (17.5; 33). All received speech therapy. Three children were lost during follow up. On assessment using ISD and REELS, eight out of the remaining 10 children showed a lag in the speech and language development, with a median delay of 19.3 months with an IQR (2; 34.5)


Coverage of the program was optimal, with almost all newborns successfully screened. More than half of the confirmed children did not exhibit risk factors for HL and therefore might not have been identified early without UNHS. The observed median age of starting intervention for confirmed cases was higher than the age recommended by AAP guidelines and most of the children had language development below those of typically hearing age mates after months of intervention.

Key words: Universal Newborn Hearing Screening, Outcome, Oto Acoustic Emission, Hearing loss, Neonates.