Education of Parents, Physicians and Staff

You'll need to plan how you will educate patients, physicians and staff about your newborn hearing screening program. Good education will help ensure a successful newborn hearing screening program.

Informed consent for parents

The most common method used to inform patients of the newborn hearing screening is to include information in pre-admission packets or in birthing classes. Some hospitals also include information in the patient rooms on closed circuit television.

The information you provide to parents should include:

  1. The importance of newborn hearing screening
  2. How the screening test works
  3. What pass and refer results mean
  4. A checklist of hearing development
  5. Common risk factors for hearing loss so that they may monitor their own baby's hearing after they leave the hospital

The Washington State Department of Health's Early Hearing Loss Detection Diagnosis and Intervention (EHDDI) team has developed a parent brochure that can be used in your hearing screening program. This parent brochure describes why newborn hearing screening is important and explains what it means if a baby passes or refers on his or her screen. It has been translated into several languages.

You will need to make sure that parents have given consent for the hearing screening. If the newborn hearing screening is included in your hospital's standard of care, then the standard consent form a mother signs on admission should cover the hearing screening.

If newborn hearing screening is not included in your hospital's standard of care, then the parents will need to sign a separate consent form for the hearing screening.

View a sample consent form (PDF).

Some parents may refuse the hearing screening. You will need to have a procedure in place for these instances. You should have a waiver for them to sign, and send them home with appropriate information about their baby's hearing development, as well as encourage them to have their baby's hearing tested if any concerns arise.

View a sample waiver form (PDF).

Educating your physicians

It is important to educate the physicians that are affiliated with your hospital. OB physicians can help with prenatal education, and pediatricians will help you ensure that newborns receive their hearing screenings and follow-up when needed.

Remember, the physicians are on your side and help ensure your program's success. Parents listen to their physicians.

Physicians should be educated on the importance of newborn hearing screening, and the particulars of your hospital's program. A sample brochure of frequently asked questions for physicians is below.

We recommend that you send a mailing to the OB physicians, family practitioners and pediatricians that serve your hospital with a letter explaining your newborn hearing screening program and a copy of this brochure.

Free copies of this brochure may be obtained by sending us an email .

A yearly follow-up mailing is recommended as well to update your physicians on the progress of your program.

View a sample physician education brochure (PDF).

Educating your staff

Remember, there are many staff members a family will interact with. Be sure to educate front desk staff, nursing staff, and prenatal educators so they are aware of your screening program.

Written information and staff in-services are both good methods of educating hospital staff that are not directly involved in your UNHS program.