Suspension of newborn hearing screening service

Published: Friday 27 Mar 2020

As part of ongoing Covid-19 resilience, we are having to suspend the newborn hearing screening service.

For those affected, your baby may receive an appointment for a hearing assessment when we are able to offer this again. Currently, we do not know exactly when this will be.

We know that about 1 in every 1000 babies born will have a hearing problem that benefits from early treatment or help. We also know that a very small number of babies are at a slightly higher risk of having a hearing problem - therefore we will identify these children and arrange a hearing test for them at a later date; if we believe your baby is in this category we will tell you this. The risk of your baby having a hearing problem is very low, however, if you are concerned about your baby’s hearing please contact us to discuss this.

As your baby grows and develops there are some things you can look out for that indicate that they are hearing well:

Shortly after birth - Your baby may be startled by a sudden loud noise such as a hand clap or a door slamming. They may blink or open eyes widely to such sounds or stop sucking or start to cry.

One month - Your baby starts to notice prolonged sounds like the noise of the vacuum cleaner and should pause to listen when they begin.

Four months - Quietens or smiles to the sound of familiar voices even when unable to see speaker and may turn head or eyes towards voice. Shows excitement at sounds (e.g. voices, footsteps etc.) Makes soft sounds, gurgles and coos.

Seven months - Turns immediately to a familiar voice across the room or to very quiet noises made on each side (if not too occupied with other things). Makes laughter-like sounds. Starts to make sing-song vowel sounds (e.g. a-a, muh, goo, der, aroo,adah).

Nine months - Listens attentively to familiar everyday sounds and searches for very quiet sounds made out of sight. Babbles (e.g. dada da, ma ma ma, ba ba ba).

Twelve months – Shows some response to own name. May also respond when you say “no” or “bye bye” even when accompanying gesture cannot be seen. Babbles loudly, often in conversational rhythm. May also start to use one or two recognisable words.

If you have a concern or would like further information, please contact us by email at and put “UNHS” in the subject line.



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