Identifying Hearing Loss Beyond the Newborn Period – What’s Happening in Queensland

Miss Stephanie Keszegi1, Dr Rachael Beswick1, Mrs Jane Fitzgibbons1, Dr Carlie Driscoll2

 1Healthy Hearing, Brisbane, Australia,

2University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia


Established universal newborn hearing screening pathways are effective in identifying congenital hearing loss. There is evidence, however, that the prevalence of children with permanent hearing loss increases from approximately 0.96/1000 children at birth to 1.51/1000 by the end of the first year of primary school. This suggests there may be a need for ongoing vigilance in detecting childhood hearing loss beyond the newborn hearing screen. Although some locations implement a risk factor registry for ongoing hearing surveillance, there is no universally agreed upon method to identify children with post-natal hearing loss (PNHL).

This presentation looks at 385 children reported to the Healthy Hearing Program between 2005 and 2018 who passed newborn hearing screening and were later diagnosed with a permanent hearing loss. Preliminary findings indicate half of these children were identified through the Healthy Hearing Targeted Surveillance program, with family history and syndromes being the most prevalent risk factors among these children. Among the other half, referrals for audiological assessment were most commonly initiated due to delayed speech and language, followed by parental concerns for hearing and professional concern. Other referral pathways including school screening and medically-initiated referrals will be discussed, as well as further analysis of the type and degree of hearing loss and average age of diagnosis associated with each referral pathway.

Optimal pathways for detection of post-natal hearing loss is a highly conjectured topic.  The findings from this research help to describe the current state of play in Queensland.


Stephanie is a new graduate paediatric audiologist working between the Queensland Children’s Hospital and the Healthy Hearing Program. Stephanie completed a Bachelor of Speech Pathology with Honours before going on to complete her Masters of Audiological Studies at the University of Queensland.