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Find out about program updates, news features, and families helped by newborn screening.


How long does a hearing screening take?

There are two tests that are used to examine baby’s hearing; an otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) test and automated auditory brainstem response (AABR) test. Both tests are painless and performed at the hospital while your baby is resting or asleep. Hospitals may use one or both types of equipment for testing.

  • An OAE test uses a miniature earphone placed in each ear that produces soft sounds.  These sounds generate an “echo” that is measured by a microphone inside the earphone. This test typically takes between five to ten minutes to complete.
  • An AABR test uses small earphones or earmuffs to produce soft sounds into each ear.  Band aid-like electrodes are attached to your baby’s skin that detect how sounds are carried to and from the brain. Average testing time for this type of test takes between 10 to 20 minutes to complete.

Testing for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)

The Florida Department of Health, Newborn Screening (NBS) Program, is pleased to announce that beginning April 27, 2020, all newborns screened will be tested for a new condition, Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). If you have any questions, please contact the