Information Giving – Failed Newborn Hearing Test

A mother comes with her 2-month old baby who has failed its newborn hearing screen and subsequently been found to have bilateral severe sensorineural hearing loss. Please see the patient and their mother and explain the future investigations and management. 


  • Paediatric Nurse available


  • Recap on past events – pregnancy, infections, vaccinations, overall health, family history, hearing problems


  • “Can I go over my examination findings with you now?”

  • “Is there anybody else you want to be present?”


  • Use audiogram if present.

  • “Unfortunately it is not good news.”

  • “This tells us that X is severely deaf in both ears. Unfortunately this permanent.” PAUSE!


  • “I can see this is a huge shock” Pause and wait

  • Ask about ideas, concerns and expectations


Strategy and summary

Answer questions

  • Deaf for life? What kind of hearing aids? What about cochlear implants?

  • What are the risks involved?


  • We have a plan –  Tough diagnosis but highlight the positives

  • Identified early – best chance at normal speech and development but if part of a syndrome prognosis depends on other factors

  • Further investigations (scans, blood tests, eye tests, family audiogram – may be subtle hearing losses, EUA ears, genetics referral) to find out cause and offer management specific to your child’s needs

  • We have a team looking after you from now on, will refer to tertiary centre – ENT, audiology, geneticists, paediatricians, school teachers, speech and language

Round up 
  • Leaflets
  • Contact details
  • Direct to  National Deaf Child Society – a charity which provides information for families and children as they grow older. e.g borrow useful technology, sign language.
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