Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) refers to the practice of screening every newborn for hearing loss prior to hospital discharge. There are over 297,900 births in Australia annually. All States and Territories in Australia have universal neonatal hearing screening . This suggests that, each year in Australia, approximately 330-335 children are born with bilateral PCHI (permanent childhood hearing impairment), and 170-179 children are born with unilateral moderate to profound PCHI.
All families of babies with a confirmed hearing impairment should be referred and have the opportunity to access Australian Hearing and other early intervention services before three months of age for advice, including amplification fitting services and cochlear implantation candidacy evaluation.
Advances in audiological testing equipment and techniques allow accurate hearing screening of the newborn, using either otoacoustic emission screeners or automated auditory brainstem evoked response audiometry. Hearing screening lowers the age of diagnosis of permanent hearing loss. The National Framework recognises that the development of neonatal hearing screening has developed separately across jurisdictions with various levels of sophistication.