How does the screening work?
It is possible to perform hearing tests on infants as soon as 24 hours after birth.
Your audiologist will place a small probe into your baby's ear canal, through which soft sounds are sent. The response from your baby's hearing organs will then be measured and recorded. The test is very simple and painless, and can take place while your baby is asleep.
Why is the screening important?
Because babies learn to speak by listening to others, it is important to pick up on hearing problems as early as possible. Hearing loss that is not detected can lead to slow development of speech and language, which in turn can result in problems later in your child's life.
What kinds of screenings are available?
There are two kinds of hearing tests that are used to test babies' hearing. The tests are:
During this test, a small earprobe or microphone, through which sounds are delivered, is inserted into your baby's ear. If your baby's hearing is normal, an echo is reflected back through the ear canal and is measured by the probe. If your baby cannot hear the sound, there will be no echo.
Auditory brainstem response
During this test, small electrodes are placed on your baby's head. Sounds are played, and the electrodes can detect and measure how the hearing nerve responds.
What if my baby fails the hearing test?
If your baby fails the first hearing test, it does not necessarily mean that there is a permanent hearing loss. Some common reasons for failing the test include:
- Vernix in the ear canal
- Fluid in the middle ear
- Movement or crying during the test
If your baby fails he first hearing test, schedule a follow-up appointment with your audiologist. Your audiologist will perform diagnostic testing to check for hearing loss.
Even if your baby does pass the first hearing test, it is important to have your baby's hearing checked regularly. Delayed-onset hearing loss can occur as a result of illness, injury, genetics or exposure to loud noise.
What if my baby has hearing loss?
If your baby has hearing loss, your audiologist will help you to find a suitable hearing aid, implant, medication or surgery option, depending on the type and severity of your child's hearing loss.