Information for Hearing Screening Professionals
To operate smoothly, your program will need screeners and a program coordinator. You will need to make sure you have coverage of all shifts so that no babies are missed prior to discharge.
The program coordinator is often an OB or nurse manager. Sometimes this person is a consulting audiologist.
This person will oversee the screening program, train the screeners, monitor referral rates, and ensure that follow-up is obtained for infants who do not pass the hearing screening.
The program coordinator often also assists with performing the hearing screenings. Generally speaking, your program coordinator will need to commit 2–6 hours per week per thousand births to manage and coordinate your program.
See a sample job description for program coordinators (PDF).
The screeners will be responsible for performing the hearing screenings. Your screening staff should have a low turnover rate and be reliable. It is important not to have too many screeners.
The fewer screeners you have, the more practice each screener will get, the better and faster they will be at screening. Limiting the number of screeners also ensures that screeners take responsibility for the program.
Your screeners can be:
- Nurses/nursing aides
- Lactation consultants
- OT/PT personnel
- Technicians hired and trained specifically for screening
See a sample job description for screeners (PDF).
Training Your Screeners
Your screeners will need to be trained in:
- Operation of equipment
- Proper communication of screening results
- Education of parents about hearing screening
- Infection control procedures
- Baby handling skills
Your screeners should also be evaluated at regular intervals to help ensure the ongoing quality of your program. Annual competencies are recommended. The National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM) has created a free and interactive web-based Newborn Hearing Screening Training Curriculum that can be used by programs to complete annual screener competencies.
It is recommended that you use a checklist when training screeners to ensure adequate skills in all aspects of the screening process.
A separate checklist for communication of the screening results is recommended as well, due to the importance of proper communication of the screening results and what they really mean.