Hearing services are provided by a range of government and non-government agencies in NSW. This information is provided for consumers to locate NSW Health clinical services they may need.
NSW Statewide Infant Screening - Hearing (SWIS-H) program
What is the SWIS-H program?
- The NSW Statewide Infant Screening - Hearing (SWIS-H) Program aims to identify all babies born in NSW with significant permanent bilateral hearing loss by three months of age, and for those children to be able to access appropriate intervention by six months of age.
- Identification of significant hearing loss is achieved through universal hearing screening of all newborns.
- About one to two in every 1,000 babies has significant hearing loss. The SWIS-H program aims to identify babies born with significant hearing loss and link them to appropriate services as soon as possible after birth.
You can find out more in the SWIS-H Program Guidelines or read the 2009/10 SWIS-H Program evaluation.
Information about the screening program
Five parent/carer brochures describing the SWIS-H program are available in English and 31 other community languages, in paper form from SWIS-H screening staff or via download:
How are hearing problems diagnosed?
The screening section of the program involves the screening of all newborns in NSW using Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR) technology. If newborns do not pass hearing screening they are referred for diagnostic audiological assessment. Technology is available to diagnose hearing problems in the neonatal period and early identification and intervention are important, with research suggesting that intervention commencing by 6 months of age may result in optimal speech and language development and minimise the need for ongoing special education.
A special resource, Hearing loss and your Baby: the next step is provided to parents/carers of infants who are diagnosed with a hearing loss and is available in 14 languages. This resource includes information about different types of hearing loss, effective ways of communicating with your baby with a hearing loss, support services and other useful resources.
The SWIS-H Travel program entitles a parent, who lives more than 100 km one way from one of the three SWIS-H assessment facilities, to be reimbursed for travel if the baby has been identified for follow-up diagnostic audiology services following screening for hearing under the SWIS-H program.
The SWIS-H Travel Assistance Scheme form can be downloaded.
Contact details for your local SWIS-H Coordinator
Each Local Health District has a SWIS-H Coordinator responsible for implementing and managing the screening program across all facilities in their area. To find out which local health district you reside in, search for your closest town.