Newborn Hearing Screening training and competencies: a dedicated and effective approach

Mrs Suzie Costello1, Ms Caris Jalla1Mrs Lara Shur1

1Earbus Foundation of WA, Wembley, Australia


Earbus Foundation of Western Australia’s Newborn Hearing Screening (NBHS) Program forms part of the National Neonatal Hearing Screening Framework. The Program commenced in October 2015 and currently provides NBHS in seven private hospitals across WA including St John of God (SJOG) Subiaco, SJOG Murdoch, SJOG Mt Lawley, SJOG Bunbury, SJOG Geraldton, Ramsay Health Joondalup and Ramsay Health Glengarry. This presentation shares the processes of training Screeners and highlights the rigorous competencies of our NBHS program.

A dedicated Screener is trained against the Western Australian Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program Organisational Guidelines informed by the National Framework for Neonatal Hearing Screening. Each Screener is allocated to a setting with the sole role to work within this program. Training within Earbus includes standardised online training in conjunction with in-house training by our Director of Clinical Services and Audiologist. The NBHS Program has an assigned Program Manager who provides hands on training and ongoing support. Raw data from the screening equipment is routinely analysed by our Program Manager and incorporated towards ongoing improvements of the program.

Screener competencies are reviewed regularly and include Equipment Care and Infection Control; Communication Skills; Screening Technique; Administration and Record Keeping; Protocols; and Teamwork and Professionalism. In addition to these best practice guidelines and competencies, Earbus recruits Screeners based on aligned core values; to be Open and Honest; Loyal and Supportive; and Brilliant. Screeners have a role beyond the medical process with the task to also inform and educate parents. The interactions Screeners have with families impact the parental experience. To ensure these experiences are positive, our team are coached in communication – both in delivery and the information shared. Over the three years of our NBHS Program, Earbus have consistently met all KPI’s and continues to deliver quality newborn hearing screening in a cost effective way.