The NSW Statewide Infant Screening – Hearing (SWISH) Program aims to identify babies born with significant hearing loss and introduce them to appropriate services as soon as possible. This fact sheet is prepared for parents to explain why their baby has been referred directly for assessment.

Last updated: 03 December 2019

Your baby will be offered a series of health checks in the first few weeks of life. One of these looks for hearing loss.

The hearing screen will be offered as soon as possible after birth. However, the screen is not suitable for some babies because the screen may not be accurate in these cases. These babies are instead referred directly for diagnostic assessment by an audiologist, who is a specialist in hearing.

Some reasons for direct referral include:

  • Atresia (absence of an ear canal)
  • Microtia (incomplete or underdeveloped ear)
  • Bacterial or Viral Meningitis (confirmed or suspected)
  • Cleft Lip/Palate
  • Down Syndrome.

Babies who spend time in intensive care may also be referred directly for diagnostic assessment by the SWIS-H coordinator after consultation with a paediatrician, even if they have already passed the hearing screen.

About one to two babies out of every 1000 babies born will have a significant hearing loss

It is important to find out as soon as possible how well your baby hears so that you and your baby can get the correct advice and support.

If you live more than 100km from the hospital you have been referred to, ask the person who gave you this brochure for information about the SWIS-H Travel Assistance Scheme.

For information about the diagnostic assessment, ask the person who gave you this brochure for the ‘Why does my baby need a diagnostic assessment?’ brochure.​

For health advice, contact healthdirect Australia, 1800 022 222.

For further information, please refer Kids and families.

Current as at: Tuesday 3 December 2019