Auditory screening of newborn infants has been recommended on the basis of the presence of risk criteria, including congenital infection. We assessed the ability of risk criteria-based neonatal auditory brain stem response to identify infants with hearing loss resulting from congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection. Data from 6 1/2 years of risk criteria-based neonatal auditory screening were compared with the results of screening of all newborn infants for congenital CMV infection. Infants with congenital CMV infection received follow-up hearing evaluations. Congenital CMV infection was found in 167 (1.3%) of 12,371 infants; 134 had follow-up hearing evaluations, and 14 (10.4%) had confirmed sensorineural hearing loss. The rate of sensorineural hearing loss resulting from congenital CMV infection was 14 per 12,371 infants, of 1.1 per 1000 live births; the rate of bilateral loss ≥50 dB was 0.6 per 1000. Although 2036 infants received auditory screening because of risk criteria, only 34 (20%) of 167 infants with congenital CMV infection were included. Only 2 (14%) of 14 children with sensorineural hearing loss caused by CMV were identified by risk criteria-based screening. We conclude that congenital CMV infection is an important cause of hearing impairment. Neonatal auditory screening based on the presence of risk criteria will fail to identify the majority of cases of sensorineural hearing loss caused by congenital CMV infection. © 1993 Mosby-year book, Inc.