Summary of Systematic Review

Neonatal Screening for Early Detection of Hearing Impairment. Final Report S05-01
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). (2007).
Cologne (GER): Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), 187 pages.

This review meets the criteria for a high-quality evidence-based systematic review.

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review states a clearly focused question or aim Yes
Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided Yes
Search strategy is described in sufficient detail for replication Yes
Included studies are assessed for study quality Yes
Quality assessments are reproducible Yes
Characteristics of the included studies are provided Yes

This is a review of studies investigating the benefits and harms of universal newborn hearing screening (UNHS) in the detection of hearing impairment and patient-relevant therapy goals.

Question(s)/Aim(s) Addressed:

  1. What is the effectiveness of screening programs?

  2. What is the effectiveness of delivering treatment at different time points (early versus later)?

  3. What is the quality of specific diagnostic procedures used in screening?

Newborns and children through age 10.

Universal newborn hearing screening

Number of Studies Included:

Years Included:
Through 2006


Permanent Childhood Hearing Loss

  • Screening/Assessment

    • Screening

      • General Findings

        • "UNHS can improve the chances that a child with congenital hearing impairment is diagnosed and treated at an earlier stage. It cannot be certainly inferred from the studies available what consequences this has for the development of these children" (p. 5).

        • "There are indications (not evidence) that children with hearing impairment identified by UNHS have advantages in language development. The comparison between children treated earlier vs. those treated later also provides indications that children with earlier treatment may have advantages in language development" (p. 5).

        • "It is insufficiently investigated how newborn hearing screening affects other outcomes relevant to the children, such as quality of life, development at school, and occupational or social situation" (p. 5).

Sponsoring Body:
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care

Hearing Loss, Early Hearing Detection and Intervention

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