Early detection and intervention for hearing loss is crucial for infants as hearing impairments can affect speech development, language and social skills. Most hospitals perform the newborn hearing screening before the baby is discharged. 

infant laying downSome babies do not pass their newborn hearing screening and it could be due to the following reasons:
  • The baby has hearing loss
  • There is fluid or debris in the ears
  • The baby was crying or moving during testing
  • There was too much noise in the room during testing
If your baby doesn’t pass the newborn hearing screening, they need a full hearing test from a qualified audiologist with pediatric experience as soon as possible before three-months old. A full hearing test can help your baby’s healthcare provider diagnose hearing loss early enough to begin intervention during the critical period for language development.

A few babies can pass a hearing test and still have hearing loss. Some develop hearing loss later in childhood due to illness or certain genetic conditions. Even if your child has passed a hearing screening before, it is important to look out for the following signs:
  • They are not startled by loud noises.
  • They don't turn towards sound after the age of six months.
  • Their speech is delayed - they should be speaking simple words by age one.
  • They don't respond to their name.
  • They fail to notice toys that make noise.
It's important to note the above symptoms can stem from a range of developmental disabilities and doesn't necessarily mean your child's hearing is impaired.

Babies may lose their hearing for a range of additional reasons. These may include:
  • Genes may play a role in about half of the cases of hearing loss in babies and children. Some babies with a genetic cause for their hearing loss might have family members who also have a hearing loss. 
  • Premature birth or low birthweight. Premature babies often have more health problems (like hearing loss) at birth and later in life than babies born full term. 
  • Viruses and infections during pregnancy. You can pass certain viruses and infections to your baby during pregnancy that may cause hearing loss.
  • Birth defects that change the shape or structure of ears, head or face, may cause hearing problems. 
  • Infections your baby has after birth.  
  • Exposure to unsafe noise levels. 
Ibaby in fieldf your child has been diagnosed with hearing loss or you see signs of potential hearing impairments, the Pennsylvania Ear Institute can help. If follow-up testing shows a hearing loss, the next step will be developing an intervention plan, which may include medical treatment, additional testing, or hearing aids. It is important to begin this process as early as possible. Your baby’s development in the first few months of life is crucial for communication and cognitive development.

Early screening, diagnosis and treatment can help children with hearing loss develop speech, language and social skills. 

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric audiologists.