Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Pilot implementation of newborn hearing screening programme at four hospitals in southern Thailand

Pittayapon Pitathawatchai, Wandee Khaimook & Virat Kirtsreesakul

Volume 97, Number 10, October 2019, 663-671

Table 3. Costs of a universal newborn hearing screening programme at four hospitals in southern Thailand, January–July 2017

Item Description and/or assumptions Total cost (US$)a
Screening
Transient evoked otoacoustic emissions machine Cost of $10 294 per unit; one unit purchased per site 7996b
Supplies Reusable ear tips at US$ 70.50 for one pack of 30 pieces; one pack purchased per site 282
Wages Screener salary US$ 6 per hour; each screening took an average of 15 minutes per infant (5922 attended first screening) 8883
Diagnosis
Auditory brainstem response and auditory steady-state response machine Cost of US$ 41 176 per unit; single unit purchased 3998c
Diagnostic otoacoustic emissions machine Cost of US$ 11 765 per unit; single unit purchased 1142c
Tympanometry machine Cost of US$ 7353 per unit; single unit purchased 714c
Supplies Disposable electrodes for testing cost US$ 1.4 per infant; reusable ear tips for otoacoustic emissions and tympanometry testing cost US$ 2.7 per infant (32 infants attended diagnostic appointment) 131
Wages Audiologist salary US$ 6 per hour; each diagnostic appointment lasted an average of 2 hours per infant (32 infants referred to audiologist) 384
Intervention
Hearing aids Cost US$ 441 per unit; 3 infants fit bilaterally (6 units) 2646
Myringotomy Cost US$ 75 per procedure; 3 infants underwent surgery 225
Wages Speech-language therapist salary US$ 6 per hour; 3 infants had aural rehabilitation, comprising 24 sessions of 1 hour per session 432
Total expenditure NA 26 833
Cost per infant screened NA 4.5d
Cost per infant diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss NA 8944e

NA: not applicable; US$: United States dollars

a An exchange rate of 34.00 Thai Baht = US$ 1.00 (1 July 2017) was used to convert costs from local currency.

b Total repayments over 1 year calculated based on the manufacturer’s price per machine, amortized over 5 years at a discount rate of 3%.19

c Total repayments over 1 year calculated based on the manufacturer’s price per machine, amortized over 10 years at a discount rate of 3%.19

d In total, we screened 5922 infants.

e We diagnosed three infants with sensorineural hearing loss.