Original Research

Feasibility of newborn hearing screening in a public hospital setting in South Africa: A pilot study

Amisha Kanji, Katijah Khoza-Shangase
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 63, No 1 | a150 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v63i1.150 | © 2016 Amisha Kanji, Katijah Khoza-Shangase | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 January 2016 | Published: 21 July 2016

About the author(s)

Amisha Kanji, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa


Objectives: The current pilot study aimed to explore the feasibility of newborn hearing screening (NHS) in a hospital setting with clinical significance for the implementation of NHS. Context-specific objectives included determining the average time required to screen each neonate or infant; the most suitable time for initial hearing screening in the wards; as well as the ambient noise levels in the wards and at the neonatal follow-up clinic where screening would be conducted.

Method: A descriptive, longitudinal, repeated measures, within-subjects design was employed. The pilot study comprised 11 participants who underwent hearing screening. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics.

Results: The average time taken to conduct hearing screening using otoacoustic emissions and automated auditory brainstem response was 18.4 minutes, with transient evoked otoacoustic emissions taking the least time. Ambient noise levels differed between wards and clinics with the sound level readings ranging between 50 dBA and 70 dBA. The most suitable screening time was found to be the afternoons, after feeding times.

Conclusion: Findings highlight important considerations when embarking on larger scale NHS studies or when planning a hospital NHS programme. Current findings suggest that NHS can be efficiently and effectively conducted in public sector hospitals in South Africa, provided that test time is considered in addition to sensitivity and specificity when deciding on a screening protocol; bar recognised personnel challenges.


Newborn hearing screening; feasibility


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Crossref Citations

1. Communication and school readiness abilities of children with hearing impairment in South Africa: A retrospective review of early intervention preschool records
Ntsako P. Maluleke, Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Amisha Kanji
South African Journal of Communication Disorders  vol: 66  issue: 1  year: 2019  
doi: 10.4102/sajcd.v66i1.604