June 21, 2022

Evaluation of hearing brochures

Most brochures given to parents about newborn hearing screening results need to be modified to make them more understandable, Vanderbilt hearing researchers found.

by Emily Stembridge

Newborn hearing screening brochures (NHSBs) help reduce the high rate of patients lost to follow-up after assessment. Brochures include next steps for families, so it is important they provide clear, helpful information.

Under the leadership of Anne Marie Tharpe, PhD, Karina Jirik and colleagues assessed 59 current state-level NHSBs for readability, design, picture appropriateness and use of the word “refer.” They also assessed 43 pregnant patients’ understanding of screening result terminology, reporting their findings in the International Journal of Audiology.

Most brochures were found deficient in at least one element. Thirty percent of brochures used the word “refer” to indicate a hearing screening failure, yet fewer than half of patients understood its meaning.

The researchers suggest 88% of available state-level NHSBs be modified to make them more understandable to a broad educational audience. They emphasize that the term “refer” should be used with discretion, as it is not readily understood.