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Newborn Hearing Screening

Contact Us: (405) 426-8309

The Oklahoma Newborn Hearing Screening program, also known as Oklahoma Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI), provides oversight to healthcare providers to ensure all newborns receive timely hearing screening, diagnosis, and intervention. Oklahoma EHDI also partners with families to provide support and resources related to newborn hearing screenings, follow-up appointments, and local/national resources.

Hearing loss is one of the most common birth defects in the United States, with approximately 1.8 newborns per 1,000 births being diagnosed with permanent hearing loss each year.

The goal of Oklahoma EHDI is to ensure all children birth to 3 years of age with hearing loss receive timely intervention to improve communication, education, and over all development. To accomplish this goal Oklahoma uses the 1-3-6 guideline. 

  • 1 Month: All infants should have a hearing screening by 1 month of age
  • 3 Months: If after two screenings the baby does not pass, a medical and hearing evaluation is needed before 3 months of age
  • 6 Months: If a hearing loss is detected, treatment and intervention should be started by 6 months of age


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  Commissioner of Health to develop rules and guidelines to accomplish the provisions of the act.


The Newborn Hearing Screening Program (NHSP) was established in August 1983 making Oklahoma the fifth state to institute a newborn hearing screening program. 


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.


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.


Additional CSHCN funding allowed the purchase of screening equipment for all Oklahoma birthing facilities.


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. 


By March 2002, all birthing hospitals in Oklahoma were equipped with physiologic hearing screening technology.


The NHSP tracking system was combined with the one used by the Newborn Blood Sport Screening Program (NBS). 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.


Every year since 2004, about 95% of Oklahoma babies have had hearing screened prior to hospital discharge.

2022 Oklahoma State Department of Health Rules and Regulations were updated to require birthing hospitals to provide newborn hearing screening results to the Oklahoma Newborn Hearing Screening Program within one week of completing the screening.   

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Newborn Hearing Screening Program
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave., Suite 1702
Oklahoma City, OK 73102-6406

Phone: (405) 426-8309
Fax: (405) 900-7554