Universal neonatal Screening also known as early hearing detection and intervention programs in several countries refers to those services aimed at the early identification intervention and follow-up of infants and young children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
It is a strategy for the early detection of permanent congenital hearing loss. it describes the use of objective testing methods usually otoacoustic emission(OAE) testing or automated auditory brainstem response to screen the hearing of well newborn in a particular target region.
Universal screening programs have been implemented across the world. Hearing loss occurs often enough in the general population to justify the legislation for universal hearing screening programs across the world.
Hearing loss is one of the most common congenital anomalies, prior to the implementation of universal newborn screening, Testing was conducted only o infants who met the criteria of the high-risk register(HRR).it was found that the HRR was not enough, given that as many as 50% Of infants born with hearing loss have no known risk factors. Reliable screening tests that minimize referral screening tests that minimize referral rates and maximize sensitivity and specificity are now readily available.
According to WHO 2 to 6 in every 1000 neonates with permanent or Sensorineural hearing loss deafness or severe to profound impairment.