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Risk Factor Screening Process

Key steps

  • Beginning March 4, 2024, all babies for whom consent is provided to participate in hearing screening through the Infant Hearing Program (IHP) will receive hearing loss risk factor screening by NSO.    
    • Due to COVID-19 related disruptions to non-essential services, babies born between March 26, 2020, and March 3, 2024, were screened for hearing loss risk factors by NSO without the need for additional consent through the IHP. 
  • Risk factor screening uses the dried blood spot sample collected for routine newborn screening to look for CMV and some common variants in the hearing loss genes called GJB2 and SLC26A4
    • Beginning in February 2024, dried saliva specimens will be collected for babies born in selected hospitals in Ontario to help determine the most appropriate method for testing for CMV (dried blood spot versus dried saliva spot). All babies who screen positive on a dried saliva spot or a dried blood spot sample will be notified by a health care provider and receive the same follow-up testing and care. 
  • Testing takes 1-2 weeks to complete, and results are sent to the Infant Hearing Program. 
  • Babies who screen positive for CMV or genetic risk factors for PHL will be contacted by Newborn Screening Ontario or their primary care provider to discuss the results and recommended follow-up. 

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