New Born Hearing Screening Programme
ECHO CHECK AUDITORY SCREENER
A New Born Hearing Screening Unit has been set up as a joint project of Adarsh and Indian Academy of Paeditrics Childhood Disability Group. This unit is for checking the hearing ability of newborn children and for further corrective action when needed. The initial check is done through a sophisticated portable machine called "Echo Check Auditory Screener?, which helps to screen the hearing ability of newborn babies as well as children. By this programme it is intended to get all newborn babies routinely screened before they get discharged from the hospital. A trained person visits the selected hospital on a particular day. Arrangements are also made for follow up action in case it is needed. At present Adarsh had made this facility available at the following hospitals:
• Lekshmi Hospital, Aluva
• Shaji Hospital, North Paravur
• KMK Hospital, Aluva
• CDEIRC, Vyttila, Ernkaulam
The babies get screened by the screener, (Manufactured by Otodynamics, Hatfield, U.K) before discharge from the hospital. Protocol followed is based on NHS (U.K) protocol. If the initial test reveals anything abnormal, it is repeated after 2 weeks.

An abnormal result may be got if the middle ear is not aerated as may occur in the first few days of life or, if there is cerumen in the ear canal (the reason why the test is repeated after 2 weeks). If the second test also is abnormal, the baby is subjected to BERA test for confirmation of hearing loss and also for quantification of hearing loss. An abnormal OAE result by ECHOCHECK indicates abnormal cochlear function. Almost all cases of hearing loss in newborns are due to a cochlear pathology.
WHY EARLY SCREENING?
The incidence of hearing loss in general infant population is 0.2 -0.4% (incidence in high risk newborns is 1.5 % - 15%). If hearing loss is present, it should be detected and remedied before the baby is 6 months old, lest the baby should develop impaired speech and language, due to the hearing impairment.

Hearing Screening is a must in the following situations:
  •  Neonates
  •  Birth weight less than 1500gms
  •  Hyper-bilirubinaemia at a serum level requiring exchange transfusion.
  •  Bacterial meningitis
  •  Apgar scores of 0 to 4 at one minute or 0 to 6 at 5 minute.
  •  Mechanical ventilation lasting 5 days or more.
  •  Ototoxic medications
  •  Family history of hereditary childhood Sensory neural hearing loss.
  •  Intrauterine infection (TORCHS)
  •  Cranio-facial anomalies.
  •  Stigmata or other findings associated with a syndrome known to include a sensory neural and / or conductive hearing loss.
Infants (29 days through 2 years)
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Ototoxic medications.
  • Recurrent or persistent otitis media with effusion for at least 3 months.
  • Parent concern regarding hearing, speech, language and / or developmental delay.
  • Head trauma with loss of consciousness or skull fracture.
  • All cases of speech delay, poor speech clarity, poor vocabulary and language development not appropriate to age.