Children's hearing is a public health concern, and universal newborn hearing screenings are the first step in detecting and treating congenital hearing loss. Despite the high rate of participation in such programs, loss to follow-up (LTF) with additional recommended diagnosis and treatment has been a persistent problem. The current research seeks to expand the knowledge base at the point of diagnosis, where there is a large drop-off in parents following through with recommended care. This research was organized around the following question: What biopsychosocial factors are associated with LTF between screenings and diagnostic evaluations? A prospective quantitative longitudinal study tracked 203 families whose newborns were referred for additional testing at discharge from the hospital after birth. Binary logistic regression was used to determine what constellation of factors best predicted LTF. Psychosocial factors related to being lost to follow-up at diagnosis included race and ethnicity and access to health care professionals, with African American babies being most at risk for LTF; however, the impact of race and ethnicity declined when parents believed they had more health care professionals with whom to consult.
- Hearing screenings
- Loss to follow-up