Semin Hear 2000; 21(4): 367-378
DOI: 10.1055/s-2000-13465
Copyright © 2000 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA. Tel.: +1(212) 584-4662


Mark E. Lutman
  • Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, United Kingdom
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
31 December 2000 (online)


The aim of screening of hearing in neonates is to concentrate cases with material disorder into a manageable group that may be referred for more definitive diagnostic testing. Material disorder is defined as a permanent bilateral hearing impairment of at least 40 dB averaged over the frequencies 0.5, 1, 2, and 4 kHz. The two most common approaches involve automated auditory brain stem response (AABR) and transiently evoked otoacoustic emission (TEOAE) techniques. Both techniques can achieve adequate specificity in excess of 95%. Provisional estimates of sensitivity suggest that 80 to 90% of cases will be correctly classified, which, although not ideal, is adequate for the purpose. Conventional AABR and TEOAE techniques do not provide frequency-specific threshold estimates. Implementation and validation of steady-state evoked potential (SSEP) and distortion product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) techniques may add this information. It is concluded that current techniques are fit for the purpose of effective neonatal hearing screening programs.