Original Research

Audiological follow-up in a risk-based newborn hearing screening programme: An exploratory study of the influencing factors

Amisha Kanji, Kirsten Krabbenhoft
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 65, No 1 | a587 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v65i1.587 | © 2018 Amisha Kanji, Kirsten Krabbenhoft | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 November 2017 | Published: 25 October 2018

About the author(s)

Amisha Kanji, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Kirsten Krabbenhoft, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

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Background: Follow-up return rate in Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) programmes is of specific importance as it ensures that benchmarks are met and that no child with suspected hearing loss is left unidentified.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the factors influencing audiological follow-up of high-risk infants in a risk-based newborn hearing screening programme.

Method: A non-experimental, exploratory, qualitative research design was employed. Purposive sampling was used. The study was conducted at a secondary level hospital in the public health care sector in South Africa. Participants comprised 10 caregivers (age range 26–40 years) of infants who had been enrolled in a risk-based newborn hearing screening programme, and returned for follow-up appointments. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews. Responses were recorded by the researcher and a colleague to ensure rigour and trustworthiness of findings. Data were analysed using thematic analysis for open-ended questions and descriptive statistics for the closed-ended questions.

Results: The most common positive contributors that facilitated participants’ attendance at follow-up appointments were: having friendly audiologists; a clear line of communication between caregiver and audiologist and a reminder of the appointment. The most significant perceived challenge that participants described in returning for the follow-up appointment was living in far proximity from the hospital.

Conclusion: Findings of the study revealed that influencing factors on follow-up return rate are demographic, socio-economic, and interpersonal in nature and further suggested the need for an all-inclusive appointment day. It may be of importance to not only look at what is being done to improve the follow-up return rate but also how it should be done in terms of professional-to-patient communication and interactions.


follow-up; risk-based newborn hearing screening; positive contributors; challenges


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