Hearing loss is one of the most common congenital conditions in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Untreated hearing losses in children can negatively impact cognitive and communication development milestones, which is why it’s incredibly important to screen children early for hearing loss.

How do Audiologists Screen Newborns?
The Joint Committee on Infant Hearing recommends that all babies have a hearing screening within the first month of life. Most newborns are tested before they even leave the hospital. There are two tests that may be used for newborn hearing screenings: auditory brainstem response (ABR) and otoacoustic emissions (OAEs). An ABR screening uses three sticky electrodes gently placed on the baby’s skin, and a small speaker placed in or over their ear. The electrodes measure how the auditory (hearing) nerve responds to the sound being played in the ear. OAE screenings use a small microphone and speaker placed in to the baby’s ear and then measuring a tiny response from the child’s inner ear. Both of these tests require the newborn to be resting quietly in order to get accurate results.
What Happens if My Baby Does Not Pass the Newborn Hearing Screening?
If your baby does not pass the newborn hearing screening, it simply means that further testing needs to be done to determine his or her hearing levels. Typically, the child will be referred for a diagnostic evaluation with a pediatric audiologist. 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. Furthermore, it is equally important to continually monitor your child’s hearing so he/she has the best chance to hit each milestone.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric audiologists