The Linco-Bennett auditory response cradle is a microprocessor controlled device for screening the hearing of neonates. A total of 396 neonates admitted to a special care unit were tested on the cradle and later followed up in a comprehensive test programme between the ages of 3 months and 8 months. Altogether 374 (94%) were available for follow up. The use of the cradle resulted in the detection of six neonates with appreciable deafness. One neonate who passed the cradle test has severe bilateral hearing impairment. The false alarm rate for neonates failing two tests on the cradle but having normal hearing at follow up was 4.3%. The auditory response cradle was designed for use in mass screening programmes but testing the hearing of all newborns would require many staff. It is argued that this is unrealistic when resources are scarce, but that neonates in high risk groups should have their hearing screened at birth by an objective test such as this. The cradle has considerable potential but its method of use and the 'decision making' programme could be improved.
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