Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health

Understanding Screening Results

When your baby is screened at the hospital, you will be told the results before leaving the hospital. If you are unsure of the screening results, it is very important that you ask before leaving the hospital in the event further screening is needed.

Initial Screening

  • Passing the initial screening - if your baby passes the initial screening, remember that these results show how your baby is hearing at that time. It's important to know that a small number of babies who pass this initial screening may develop hearing loss later in life.
  • Not passing the initial screening - if your baby does not pass the initial hearing screening, he/she will need to be re-screened. This will help determine if further testing is needed. There are many possible reasons why a baby may not pass a hearing screening:
    • excessive noise or movement of the baby. Feeding the baby before the screening and having the baby asleep could be beneficial
    • fluid from the birth may still be present in the ear, blocking the sound
    • fluid behind the eardrum, a common site for an ear infection, can also block the sound which would lead to not passing the screening.


  • Passing the re-screening - the re-screening should be completed prior to the baby being one month of age. Delaying the hearing re-screening may further affect the baby’s speech and language development. As with the initial hearing screening, the results indicate how your baby is hearing at this time. If your baby passes the re-screening, nothing further is needed at this time.
  • Not passing the re-screening - if your baby does not pass the re-screening, a medical and audiological evaluation should then be done. Your baby will need to see his/her doctor to help determine if there is a medical reason why the re-screening was not passed. A hearing specialist, called a Diagnostic Audiologist, will also need to be seen. This specialist will do further testing to diagnose any degree of hearing loss.
  • Medical and audiological evaluations should be done before your baby is three months of age. The evaluations will confirm the presence of a hearing loss, determine the type, nature and possibly the cause of the hearing loss, and help identify options.
  • No later than six months of age the appropriate services and intervention should be started. Any delay will only affect the future of the social and emotional growth and academic achievements.
Share via: