Newborn Hearing Screenings Are the First Step Toward a Life Full of Sounds
A newborn should receive a variety of medical tests upon entering the world, and hearing screenings are no exception. These tests allow providers to determine if your child was born with hearing loss and help them provide the care that will best fit the infant’s needs.
When Should My Infant Receive a Hearing Test?
Babies should be tested for hearing loss within one month of their birth. Many states require the exam prior to the child leaving the hospital for the first time.
If your child does not pass this initial screening, it’s important to get a full hearing exam within three months of age, and ideally as soon as possible. Doing so will ensure that your baby receives the care they need to fully engage with the many sounds of childhood.
What Are the Benefits of Early Detection?
Particularly before age 2, children use their hearing to develop communication, social-emotional and other important skills. Infants with hearing loss might experience developmental setbacks, but when hearing loss is treated, they can learn new skills and connect with the world around them.
How Is a Newborn’s Hearing Tested?
There are two tests typically used to test an infant’s hearing. They are not painful, and babies are often able to sleep through them.
- Auditory Brainstorm Response Test: This procedure uses electrodes to measure the brain’s response to sound.
- Otoacoustic Emissions Test: This procedure checks the middle ear’s response to sound.
Around 10% of infants do not pass these tests, which is sometimes the result of a buildup of fluid in the ears or crying during the exam. Additional testing will determine if your child has hearing loss and is the first step for providing them with the best treatment.
What Are Common Causes of Infant Hearing Loss?
- Premature birth
- Frequent ear infections
- Infections like meningitis or cytomegalovirus
- Exposure to loud noises
- Family history of hearing loss
Following Up Is Crucial If your child does not pass their initial hearing test, it’s important to make sure they receive care from a medical provider. Whether it’s caused by something temporary like fluid in the ears or a long-term condition, an audiologist will provide your child with the best treatment for their needs. Soon enough, they’ll be noticing all the sounds in their world.