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Oklahoma Law

Timeline of the newborn hearing screening program
1982 Legislation was enacted giving the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) responsibility for developing and implementing a program to identify and track infants with hearing loss. A broad-based newborn hearing screening advisory group was named to develop guidelines for the program. The legislation also required the State Board of Health to develop rules and guidelines to accomplish the provisions of the act.
1983 The Newborn Hearing Screening Program (NHSP) was established in August 1983 making Oklahoma the fifth state to institute a hearing screening program. 
Mid-1990s Almost 95% of Oklahoma newborns were being screened each year. However, data indicated that about half of the infants ultimately diagnosed with a hearing loss were not ones who had a positive risk screen at birth, and most of these identified infants had experienced hearing loss from birth. Advances in technology led to the development of equipment for the newborn nursery that could provide actual physiologic screening of an infant’s hearing. 
1997 In January 1997, two Oklahoma hospitals began offering screenings with the new physiological screening technology. Financial assistance from the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) program in late 1997 allowed the OSDH to purchase this equipment for 18 hospitals.
1999 Additional CSHCN funding allowed the purchase of screening equipment for all Oklahoma birthing facilities.
2000 Newborn hearing screening legislation was updated in 2000 requiring that every newborn be provided with physiologic hearing screening prior to discharge along with hearing “risk” screening. 
2002 By March 2002, all birthing hospitals were equipped with physiologic hearing screening technology.
2003 The NHSP tracking system was combined with the one used by the Newborn Metabolic Disorders Screening Program (NMDSP). If a baby did not pass the hospital screening or is not screened prior to discharge, the enhanced system enabled the NHSP to contact an infant’s family and medical home within days of the birth to follow-up with diagnostic audiological assessments. If hearing loss is confirmed, families could be linked to an appropriate early intervention service provider, such as SoonerStart.
2004 Every year since 2004, about 95% of Oklahoma babies have had hearing screened prior to hospital discharge. Ninety babies born in 2006 had confirmed hearing loss and more than 80 of them and their families were participating in intervention programs before they were six months old.

Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Newborn Hearing Screening Program
Oklahoma State Department of Health
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave., Ste. 1702

Oklahoma City, OK 73102-6406

Physical Address:
Newborn Hearing Screening Program
Oklahoma State Department of Health
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

Phone: (405) 426-8220  (Option 1 for Hearing)
Fax: (405) 900-7554
E-Mail: OSDH.NewbornHearing@health.ok.gov