The Journal of International
Advanced Otology
Original Article

Newborn Hearing Screening: Early Ear Examination Improves the Pass Rate


Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Assuta Ashdod Samson University Hospital, Ashdod, Israel


Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Faculty of Health Sciences, Beer Sheba, Israel


Department of Neonatology, Assuta Ashdod Samson University Hospital, Ashdod, Israel


Hearing, Language and Speech Institute, Assuta Ashdod Samson University Hospital, Ashdod, Israel

J Int Adv Otol 2023; 19: 402-406
DOI: 10.5152/iao.2023.22987
Read: 696 Downloads: 335 Published: 29 September 2023

BACKGROUND: Temporary conductive hearing loss due to vernix accumulation in the external ear canal may lead to a false-positive result in newborn hearing screening tests. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether ear examination and intervention may reduce the false-positive rate prior to hospital discharge.

METHODS: A case series of 42 newborns who failed initial otoacoustic emissions screening were studied in our institution between May and December 2020.

RESULTS: During the study period, a total of 735 neonates (1470 ears) were screened by otoacoustic emissions in our hospital. Forty-two newborns who failed otoacoustic emissions were included in our study. They constituted 3.9% (n=58 ears) of the total number of ears screened. Forty-four ears (75.9%) passed and 14 ears (24.1%) failed otoacoustic emissions rescreening performed shortly following vernix cleaning. Twelve of the remaining 14 ears passed at 10-day rescreening. The remaining 2 ears presented true bilateral hearing loss. During the study period, the general false-positive rate decreased from 56/735 (7.61%) to 12/735(1.63%) (P < .00001).

CONCLUSION: Cleaning the vernix of infants who failed otoacoustic emissions prior to hospital discharge lowers the false-positive rate of universal neonatal hearing screening. We may assume that vernix cleaning will reduce significant healthcare workload, costs of unnecessary investigations, as well as parental anxiety.

Cite this article as: Schwarz Y, Mauthner R, Kraus O, et al. Newborn hearing screening: early ear examination improves the pass rate. J Int Adv Otol. 2023;19(5):402-406.

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