Bearing steel cleanliness is of primary importance due to potential failures caused by rolling contact fatigue (RCF). Bulk material ultrasonic scanning provides a method of assessing steel quality and cleanliness, but is lacking in the area of primary interest: the near-surface region which is subject to RCF in bearings. This research highlights experimental results from service life simulation testing of bearing components with a predicted reduction in fatigue life as determined by ultrasonic surface wave inspection. Bearing components were subjected to surface wave testing to identify near surface defects, which was then followed by service life testing under load to examine the reliability of the prediction of premature failure based on inclusion identification with ultrasonic surface wave scanning techniques. Bearings produced from the same steel heat with similar inclusion content were used to maintain objectivity throughout the experiment, with samples from near-surface, defect free components, and those with ultrasonic signatures indicative of near-surface defects being examined. The locations of fatigue failure were then superimposed with ultrasonic scanning results to study the effectiveness of this examination and its predictive capabilities. This work is expected to impact the field of non-destructive testing where steel cleanliness and RCF are of concern.