[Skip to content]

Our values: Care with compassion, Respect and dignity, Striving to excel, Professional standards, Working together
The Newborn Hearing Screening Programme is 10 years of age!

The Newborn Hearing Screening Programme is 10 years of age!


The NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme (NHSP) went live across England in 2006 so is now 10 years of age. The programme has played a major role in identifying moderate and profound hearing loss in newborn babies.

Before the introduction of the NHSP, half of the children with moderate and profound hearing loss were not identified until they were 18 months old and a quarter not identified by three and a half years of age.

Since being implemented across England, the screening programme has helped to reduce the age at diagnosis of a hearing loss to an average of 60 days and the age at which a baby gets fitted with a hearing aid to 90 days.

Early identification of hearing impairment gives children a better chance of developing speech, language and communication skills. Without screening it is hard to identify the one to two babies in every 1,000 who are born with a hearing loss.

KCHFT is responsible for the running of the Newborn Hearing Screening Programme in West Kent and has screeners working in Darent Valley Hospital, Medway Maritime Hospital and Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

All parents are offered the opportunity to have their baby’s hearing screened shortly after birth in hospital or in an outpatient clinic. The screen is quick and painless and parents are given the results immediately. If the outcome indicates that further investigation is required the baby is referred to the KCHFT Children’s Hearing Service.

The objectives of the NHSP are to identify all children born with moderate to profound permanent bilateral deafness within five weeks of birth and to ensure the provision of safe, high quality age-appropriate assessments from audiology services and ongoing support for deaf children and their families.

By November 2016 every week on average in England:

  • 12,714 babies were screened
  • 345 (2.7%) of babies were referred for audiological assessment
  • 27 babies were identified with a permanent childhood hearing impairment (PCHI)


More than 7.8 million babies had been screened since 2002.