Service monitoring data on the outcomes of health visitors' screening for hearing loss at 8 months in West Berkshire indicate low sensitivity and low positive predictive value, despite efforts to improve the conduct of the screen. Nevertheless, data on a recent series of severely hearing impaired children indicate significantly earlier diagnosis than previously, due in part in the introduction of other service changes including neonatal 'at risk' screening and surveillance using parental observation. For a trial period the traditional screening method for the detection of hearing loss in babies will be discontinued and effort concentrated on these alternative procedures.
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