Objectives The purpose of this study was to assess and compare the results of early hearing screening and its impact on the parent–infant relationship according to the time at which screening was performed: during the infant’s stay in the maternity unit, in the first strategy, or two months after discharge, in the second strategy.
Patients and Method 5,790 infants participated in the study: 3,202 were included in the first strategy and 2,588 were included in the second strategy. Within this population, 143 mother–infant pairs were submitted to psychological assessment. We compared the number of infants screened, the number of first positive tests, the number of false-positive tests and the number of infants not reviewed after screening. Adverse effects on the parent–infant relationship were evaluated in terms of maternal anxiety and the quality of early interactions.
Results A statistically significant difference in favor of newborn screening was demonstrated for all screening endpoints. Analysis of the results of the psychological assessment showed that screening per se did not have any impact on parent–infant relationship, regardless of the screening strategy used. However, the result of the test had a significant impact. Announcement of a positive result increased maternal anxiety and affected the quality of early interactions. As the number of positive results is significantly lower in newborn hearing screening, there are consequently fewer psychological side effects with this strategy than with the second strategy.
Conclusion This study demonstrates that universal newborn hearing screening is the most efficient strategy.