Babies are tested for hearing loss within four to seven days after birth. This test can also be carried out at the child health care when the child is a few weeks old. Sufficient hearing is essential for babies to learn to talk.

What does the newborn hearing screening involve?

Since 2006, each newborn in the Netherlands has been offered a hearing test. The hearing test is usually offered together with the heel-prick test, between the fourth and seventh day of life. If the test does not show a sufficient response from one or both of the baby’s ears the test may be repeated twice, if necessary. If these further tests also show no sufficient response from both ears, the child will be referred to an Audiology Centre for further diagnosis and, if necessary, treatment. The newborn hearing screening onderzoek (onderzoek) can detect hearing impairment in the first few months of life, so treatment can be started before the child reaches the age of six months. This has been shown to have a positive effect on language and speech development.

English information

The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) is actively involved in this topic. Unfortunately, most information is currently available only in Dutch.

RIVM Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu) protects and promotes human health and environmental quality. It acts as the Dutch government’s main centre of expertise in these areas.

Go to topic Newborn hearing screening on Dutch site


Centre for Population Screening
Att. Programme Coordinator Newborn hearing screening