Newborn Hearing Screening

This free, nationwide screening programme checks whether your new baby is hearing well.

Further reading:
Project HIEDI

The programme was set up with support from The National Foundation for the Deaf.

All district health boards screen newborn babies for hearing loss at age 1–3 months.

Visit the National Screening Unit’s website for more information.


Why screen babies at birth?

The internationally recommended age for identifying hearing loss is three months, with intervention starting before the child is six months.

Each year in New Zealand, up to 170 babies are born with permanent congenital hearing loss. In the past, many of these children did not have their hearing problems diagnosed until age four. This had a major impact on their social, educational and cognitive development. The NFD first raised the need for a national screening programme in 1998.

Screening is a vital way to ensure that families receive support at the earliest opportunity.


The programme is the result of the work of Project HIEDI, an NFD initiative.

Read the latest update: Newborn screening recalls (March 2014)