After reading this thread DH and I decided to have our 13 month old DS have his hearing tested. (fyi - He did not have a newborn screening as I had a home birth and we just didn't do it then.) We just had the appt this morning. The test for us was not quick and easy - not sure why we're having a different experience than others, but that's how it was for us. The whole thing was a battery of tests (like 4 different ones) and took about 45 minutes. Because they were sticking things in his ears, which he was not happy about, he cried a lot, lost it and would not cooperate. Hence we need to go back next week. Which we are going to do. From what they could tell, his hearing within normal ranges is fine. But beyond that it was too much for him and any further testing would have been inconclusive. I should also add that we needed a prescription from our doctor to do this as the appointment was with an audiologist who specializes in this kind of thing.
So all this to say i'm not sure why our experience was so different from everyone else here - maybe b/c he's older? though the audiologist said not necessarily as newborns can be just as difficult. maybe this is a more extensive test? I really don't know.
Gosh, that sounds like a good reason to do it when they're a newborn.
The newborn screen is just a probe placed in each ear in turn for a few seconds. It's done and dusted in a couple of minutes, can be done while they are sleeping or nursing, and they give you the results straight away.