Your Baby’s Screening Screening Outcomes

After the birth of a baby, most parents do not hear back from their baby’s health care provider about the newborn screening results, as families are not contacted if the screening result was within the normal range. Sometimes, families will receive a phone call from the state newborn screening program or their baby’s health care provider about 2-3 weeks after the screen was performed. In these instances, there may have been an out-of-range result that could indicate the child has one of the conditions included in the state’s screening panel.

What does a negative (in-range) result mean?

A “negative” or “in-range" result means that the baby’s blood test did not show any signs of the conditions included on the newborn screening panel.

In terms of the newborn hearing screening, often an in-range or negative result will be referred to as "passing" the newborn screening. This means that when your baby was tested, his or her hearing was well that day.

In most states, parents are only contacted in the event of a positive result. If you do not receive information about your baby’s newborn screening results and would like to confirm that the results were negative, contact your baby’s primary healthcare provider.    

What does a positive (out-of-range) result mean?

A “positive” or “out-of-range" result means that the baby’s screening exam did show signs that the baby may be at higher risk of having one or more of the conditions included on the newborn screening panel. This does not mean that the baby definitely has a medical condition. In fact, most babies who receive positive results do not have the condition of concern. However, follow-up testing must be performed immediately to determine if a condition is actually present.  

A "positive" or "out-of-range" newborn hearing screen is often referred to as "not passing" the newborn hearing screen. This means that the newborn hearing screen did not provide a clear result as to whether the baby could hear or not. Following a hearing screen in which the baby does not pass, the family will be referred to an audiologist who will perform further testing to determine if the baby actually has hearing loss.

In the event of a positive result, the parents will be notified by the baby’s primary healthcare provider or the state newborn screening program and will be given directions about what to do next. Because of the serious nature of the conditions on the newborn screening panel, it is important to follow the directions quickly and carefully. The sooner follow-up testing can be completed, the sooner the treatment can begin if a baby is found to have the condition. This will ensure the best possible outcome for the baby.

The results of your baby's newborn hearing screen will be reported to the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program of the state that your baby was tested in. Most states have laws in place that mandate how the results must be reported and what steps should be taken following a positive diagnosis for hearing loss. To see if your state has a law regarding the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program, click here.

Each condition has a unique confirmatory test. Go to the “Find a Condition” section and either type in a condition or select a condition from the list to find condition-specific information about the confirmatory testing process.

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