Identify and Treat Newborn Hearing Loss

Woman holding hand of very small baby in a hospital room setting

Your Newborn Doesn’t Have to Live in Silence 

Your voice welcoming them into the world is usually one of the first sounds your baby will hear. However, some newborns may not immediately be able to connect with this because of hearing loss. At Charleston ENT & Allergy, we can partner with you to determine if your child is having trouble hearing and find the treatment plan that will work best. 

How Many Children Are Born with Hearing Loss? 

Hearing loss is the most common congenital disability. In 2019, almost 6,000 infants born in the U.S. were diagnosed with hearing loss. This number represents two to three out of 1,000 babies. 

According to the CDC, more than 98% of newborns were screened for hearing loss in 2019, and most states require that hospitals perform them at birth. These tests may be missed during home births, but can be carried out by a trained specialist. 

Newborn Experiencing a Loss of Hearing

How Is Newborn Hearing Loss Diagnosed? 

Newborns usually have their hearing screened by an Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) test shortly after being born. Should they fail, they then receive an Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test. 

Though approximately 10% of infants do not pass these initial tests, this is sometimes due to movement or crying during the exam, or a buildup of fluid in the ears. Follow-up testing will determine if your child is truly experiencing hearing loss

Does My Child Have Hearing Loss? 

In some cases, hearing loss can develop shortly after birth. If your baby experiences any of the following symptoms, our audiologist can perform additional testing and connect your child with any necessary treatment. 

  • Failure to startle when exposed to a sudden, loud noise 
  • No recognition or response to your voice 
  • Limited, poor or nonexistent speech 
  • Inattentiveness 
  • Difficulty learning 

What Causes Hearing Loss in Infants? 

Risk factors for newborn hearing loss include premature birth, family history of similar conditions, frequent or chronic ear infections, infections like meningitis or cytomegalovirus and exposure to loud noises. 

How Is Hearing Loss in Babies Treated? 

Our provider will determine what treatment will work best for your child. Depending on the type and extent of hearing loss, potential options might include hearing aids or cochlear implants. 

Treating Newborn Hearing Loss Early Is Critical 

From their first days, babies rely on their hearing to develop speech and language skills. Additionally, it’s useful for bonding with parents and loved ones by connecting them to the sound of their voices. 

We’re Here for Your Family 

As a parent, it can be stressful to realize that your child needs treatment for hearing loss. But your family isn’t in this alone. At Charleston ENT & Allergy, we’ll help you connect your newborn to a whole world of sounds.