SWISH screening

  • Hearing screening for all newborns is an essential service and must continue.
  • Every effort should be made to complete the hearing screening pathway on all infants eligible for screening, including NICU babies, as set out in the SWISH Guidelines GL2010_002 prior to their discharge from hospital.
  • The initial hearing screen should be conducted in the first days of life in the maternity unit.
  • If the infant is likely to be discharged early, the initial screen should be performed as close to the time of discharge from the hospital as possible.
  • When a second screen is required because of a “refer” result in the initial screen, it is recommended that the second screen is performed more than 24 hours after the initial screen.
  • If the infant that requires a second screen is likely to be discharged from hospital sooner than 24 hours from the initial screen, then the second screen should be performed as close to the time of discharge from the hospital as possible.
  • Infants who have not completed their required second screen prior to discharge from the hospital must be offered an appointment to complete their second screen in the outpatient or community setting. Any decline of this offer should be documented.
  • Infants that receive a “refer” result from the second screen or unable to be​ screened due to screening exclusion criteria outlined in the SWISH Guidelines, must be referred for a diagnostic audiology assessment in the usual manner. Any decline of this referral should be documented.
  • When an infant is not screened because the mother or infant were isolated because of suspected or confirmed COVID-19, an appointment must be made for the screening to occur in an outpatient or community setting when it is deemed safe to proceed with screening and ideally before the infant is 1 month of age (corrected). Screening can be conducted on infants older than 1 month of age (corrected) but less than six months. However, hearing screening may be more difficult to conduct on older babies. The decline to be screened due to COVID-19 must be clearly documented.

Document information

Developed by

Health and Social Policy (HSPB).


Maternity, Child and Family Health and Disability Youth and Paediatric Health (HSPB).

Endorsed by

Tish Bruce, Executive Director, HSPB.

Review by

Child and Family Health Advisory Group.

For use by

NSW Health is recommending that this guidance is used for the SWISH program in response to COVID-19.

Current as at: Tuesday 23 June 2020
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW