Newborn Screening Program
The Newborn Screening Program at The Hospitals of Providence is designed to detect newborns with health problems that can be treated, help to start treatment early in life, and prevent developmental delays or other problems. You can help by making sure your baby is screened before he or she leaves the hospital, and then taking your baby to your healthcare provider or clinic for a second screening at 7-14 days of age.
How the newborn screening works
To begin the screening process, we start by taking tiny samples of blood from your baby’s heel about two days after birth, then we send the samples to the Texas Department of State Health Services Laboratory here in El Paso for testing. Tests are repeated one to two weeks later with your healthcare provider. If the screening tests show a possible health problem, your baby will need a follow-up test.
For some conditions, your healthcare team may start treating the baby right away.
If your child has a health problem, acting early is important. If your healthcare provider asks you to bring your baby in for a follow-up test, do so as soon as possible.
- Be sure to give your correct address and phone number to the hospital or healthcare provider.
- If you don’t have a telephone, leave the phone number of a friend, relative, or neighbor with the healthcare provider or hospital.
- If you move soon after your baby is born, let your healthcare provider know right away, so they can reach you if your child needs a follow-up test.
A hearing screening is important for your newborn baby because it is one of the most common birth disabilities. Language learning starts at birth, so if your baby can’t hear, learning to speak will be difficult. If you find hearing loss early, your baby can get help. Also, if you start before your baby is 6 months old, he or she may learn language like babies who do not have hearing loss.
After your baby’s hearing is screened, you will be given either a “Pass” or a “Refer” result. “Pass” means that your baby can hear well enough to learn language. It is important to keep track of how your baby’s language develops. Sometimes, hearing problems develop later in a baby’s development.
“Refer” means that your baby needs to have more testing. Refer does not mean that your baby definitely has hearing loss. It does mean that it is important to test your baby again. The hospital or your baby’s healthcare provider will help you get this testing.
You can download and print a “Hearing Checklist” from the Texas Department of Social and Health Services below. Use the checklist as a guide to know if your baby is continuing to hear well.
You can find out more about newborn screening by visiting the links below.
A downloadable form that will help you keep track of your baby's hearing development
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Find out more about the causes of hearing loss in children
Centers for Disease Control - Newborn Screening
Early detection, diagnosis, and intervention can prevent death or disability and enable children to reach their full potential.