What Do The Results Mean
If the hearing screening shows a clear response from both of your babys ears, its unlikely that your baby has hearing loss.
Some babies need to have a second test to achieve a clear result. A refer result requires the hearing screen to be repeated within a few weeks. It doesnt necessarily mean that your baby has a hearing problem.
The initial screen result can be affected by:
- fluid or other substances that have got into the ear canal during birth
- temporary middle ear fluid
- the area where the screen takes place is too noisy, or your baby is too restless
It is very hard to tell how well a young baby can hear by watching their behaviour so it is important that the hearing screen is repeated.
If your baby doesnt pass the second hearing test, they will be referred to a paediatric audiologist to test if they have a hearing problem.
The audiologist will see your baby as soon as possible if they do not pass the follow-up hearing screen in both ears. If your baby passes the hearing screen in only 1 ear, the audiologist will see your baby at about 2 to 3 months of age, or sooner if possible.
The audiologist will do a full hearing assessment. If there is a hearing problem, the tests will also show whether it’s likely to be temporary or permanent and your child will receive appropriate treatment and support.
Ensure Your Child Gets Routine Hearing Checks
Most children pass their initial newborn hearing screening and dont be alarmed if it takes 2 attempts. However, even if your baby passes the newborn screen, you should watch for signs of hearing loss as your child grows. Hearing loss can be gradual and hard to notice at first. Talk to your doctor about a hearing check if your child:
Doesnt startle at loud sounds by 1 month old
Doesnt turn toward sound at 3 to 4 months old
Concentrates on vibrating noises
Doesnt enjoy being read to
Delays talking, is hard to understand or doesnt say single words by 12 to 15 months old
Doesnt respond when called
Hears some sounds but not others
Wants the TV louder than other family members
Has trouble holding his or her head steady or is slow to sit or walk unsupported
Even if your child shows no signs of hearing changes, make sure to get regular hearing checks at ages 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10. Additional screenings also are recommended in the teen years or any time there is a concern.
Children who are at risk for hearing loss from another condition such as Down syndrome, an infection or an injury should get at least one hearing test by the time they are 2 to 2-and-a-half years old. Your babys doctor will advise you on this.
Routine screenings can catch hearing changes early, when providing support and resources can have the most impact on your child’s development.
Should You Play Classical Music For Your Baby In The Womb
While you might have heard that playing classical music for babies in the womb can boost their IQ or give them a foundation for a better education, theres no proof that doing so will result in a baby Mozart.
That said, theres also no harm in putting on your favorite tunes whether theyre classical sonatas, honky tonk country or rock and roll. Your baby might just learn to love the music and even be soothed by those familiar sound when shes outside of the womb.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
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What Can My Baby See
Your baby sees things best from 8 to 12 inches away. This is the perfect distance for gazing up into the eyes of mom or dad . Any farther than that, and newborns see mostly blurry shapes because they’re nearsighted. At birth, a newborn’s eyesight is between 20/200 and 20/400.
Their eyes are sensitive to bright light, so they’re more likely to open their eyes in low light. Don’t worry if your baby’s eyes sometimes cross or drift outward . This is normal until your baby’s vision improves and eye muscles strengthen.
Give your baby lots of appealing things to look at. After human faces, bright colors, contrasting patterns, and movement are the things newborns like to look at most. Black-and-white pictures or toys will keep your baby’s interest longer than objects or pictures with lots of similar colors.
When quiet and alert, your baby should be able to follow the slow movement of your face or an object.
How Can You Prevent Hearing Loss In Your Baby
Some types of hearing loss, like hearing loss caused by gene changes, cant be prevented. But you can help prevent hearing loss related to other causes, like infections and premature birth. Heres what you can do:
- Get a preconception checkup. This is a medical checkup you get before pregnancy to help make sure youre healthy when you get pregnant.
- Make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date. Talk to your provider about vaccinations you need before you get pregnant. For example, you may need the MMR vaccination that protects you from measles and rubella.
- Get checked for infections, like STIs. Early testing and treatment can help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Go to all of your prenatal care checkups. Prenatal care is medical care during pregnancy. At each prenatal care visit, your health care provider checks on you and your growing baby. Getting early and regular prenatal care can help you have a healthy pregnancy. Go to all your checkups, even if youre feeling fine.
Protect yourself from infections. Heres what you can do:
Take your baby to all his well-baby checkups. At these checkups, your babys provider checks your babys overall health, growth and development. Your baby also gets vaccinations to help protect her from harmful infections.
Get early treatment for ear infections. If you think your baby has an ear infection, call his provider right away. Signs and symptoms of ear infection include:
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When Is The Newborn Hearing Test Done
If you give birth in hospital, you may be offered a newborn hearing test for your baby before you’re discharged.
Otherwise it will be done by a healthcare professional, healthcare assistant or health visitor within the first few weeks.
You’ll be contacted by your local newborn hearing screening service to arrange a suitable time and venue.
Ideally, the test is done in the first 4 to 5 weeks, but it can be done at up to 3 months of age.
If you’re not offered a screening test, ask your health visitor, local audiology department or GP to arrange an appointment, or contact your local newborn hearing screening service.
What Are Signs Of Hearing Loss
Signs of hearing loss in your baby can include:
- Not being startled by loud sounds
- Not turning toward a sound after hes 6 months old
- Not saying single words like mama or dada by the time hes 1 year old
- Turns his head if he sees you, but not if you only call out his name
- Seems to hear some sounds but not others
If your baby shows signs of hearing loss at any time, call his health care provider to get your babys hearing checked.
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Can Newborn Hear Voice
Your newborn has been hearing sounds since way back in the womb. Mothers heartbeat, the gurgles of her digestive system, and even the sounds of her voice and the voices of other family members are part of a babys world before birth. Once your baby is born, the sounds of the outside world come in loud and clear.
What Other Kinds Of Hearing Tests Can Babies Have
If your baby doesnt pass his ABR or OAE test in newborn screening, her provider refers her to an audiologist. This is a person with special training to diagnose and treat hearing loss in newborns, children and adults. Your childs provider also may refer your baby to an otolaryngologist . This is a doctor with special training in ear, nose and throat care.
An audiologist gives your baby a full hearing test to check for hearing loss. This can include the ABR and OAE tests, as well as other hearing tests. The audiologist also may use a behavioral audiometry evaluation to check how all parts of your babys ear work. For this test, the audiologist sees how your baby responds to sound by watching for changes in behavior. Your baby has to be awake for this test. The audiologist plays a sound and checks to see if your baby reacts. For example, your babys eyes may move or your baby may turn her head, suck on a pacifier, get quiet or seem to be listening for the sound. If your baby responds to the sound, the audiologist gives your baby a reward, like a toy with flashing lights. This is called visual reinforcement audiometry.
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When To Check Your Child’s Hearing
Your child’s hearing should be checked if you observe any of the following:
- Listens to the TV or radio at higher volumes than other children
- Sits closer to the TV when the volume is fine for others
- Asks to have instructions repeated
- Is easily distracted or bothered by background noise
- Has difficulty telling sounds apart
- Has trouble paying attention
- Experiences speech and language, school and learning, or behavioural problems
- Complains of difficulty hearing or blocked ears
- Responds inappropriately to questions
- Watches others to copy what they are doing
- People have to raise their voice to get your child’s attention
- Shows inconsistent response to sound
- Watches the speaker’s face closely to figure out what the person is saying
- Turns their head to face the sound source
- Talks in a soft or loud voice
Signs Of Hearing Loss In Babies
A hearing screening is the most important early way to tell if a baby’s hearing is impaired, but parents and other caregivers also need to be alert for warning signs.
Signs of hearing loss can be different for different babies, and the extent of hearing impairment can vary. On their own, the warning signs may not be cause for worry , but you’ll still want to contact your baby’s doctor right away if you notice any of these red flags:
Warning signs: Newborn to 3 months
- Doesn’t startle in response to a sudden loud sound
- Doesn’t respond to sounds, music, or voices
- Isn’t soothed by soft sounds
- Doesn’t move or wake up at the sound of voices or nearby noises when sleeping in a quiet room
Warning signs: 4 to 8 months
- Doesn’t turn their head or eyes toward a sound they can’t see
- Doesn’t change expressions at the sound of a voice or a loud noise when they’re in a quiet setting
- Doesn’t seem to enjoy shaking a rattle, ringing bells, or squeezing noisemakers
- Hasn’t begun to babble to themself or back at others who speak to them
- Doesn’t respond to “no” and changes in tone of voice
- Seems to hear some sounds but not others
- Seems to pay attention to vibrating noises but not those that are only heard
Warning signs: 9 to 12 months
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What Does It Sound Like In The Womb
Sounds travel best through open space, which is why you can hear someone yelling more easily in an open field than when your head is underwater in a pool, for instance. And your baby isnt exposed to open air when shes still growing inside you: Theres amniotic fluid surrounding her, plus all the layers of your body and the amniotic sac, between her and the world. So even when her ears are fully developed, the sounds she hears in utero are muffled.
Try this for fun: Put your hand over your mouth. Have your partner do the same. Then carry on a conversation. Thats more or less what voices sound like to your baby in the womb. Youll notice that although you can make out the tones and pitches of a sentence, you might not be able to understand some words.
Similarly, try singing a song with your mouth covered and youll hear that the tune comes out loud and clear, but not the lyrics.
The louder a sound, of course, the more likely your baby can hear it. A barking dog, honking horn or wailing siren is going to sound more distinct than quiet background music but thats not necessarily a bad thing. The sounds your cutie gets used to in utero will be less likely to startle her after shes born.
When Will My Babys Hearing Be Screened
Your babys hearing should be screened before he or she leaves the hospital or birthing center. If not, make sure the baby is tested during the first month of life. If your babys hearing was not tested within 1 month of birth, or if you havent been told the results of the hearing screening, ask your childs doctor today. Quick action will be important if the screening shows potential hearing loss.
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How Can I Tell If My Newborn Can Hear
Asked by:Estell Gutkowski
Your baby has been hearing sounds since way back in the womb. Mothers heartbeat, the gurgles of her digestive system, and even the sounds of her voice and the voices of other family members are part of a babys world before birth. Once your baby is born, the sounds of the outside world come in loud and clear.
Loud Sounds And Developing Babies
Most moms are concerned that very loud sounds will damage their baby’s hearing such as a loud concert or a noisy night out with friends. In most cases, these one-time instances will not impact your baby’s hearing.
While the effects of prolonged noise on hearing loss are not well-known, noise does have the possibility to cause some developmental damage or hearing loss in a growing baby when it’s loud, prolonged, and repeated. For instance, working in a noisy factory for eight or more hours per day might be enough noise to impact a baby’s hearing to some degree.
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Hearing Treatments And Interventions
If your child is deaf or has hearing loss, treatment and interventions can begin right away.
Your childs care team will include:
Ear, nose and throat doctor who specializes in the ear
Genetic counselor to check if there is a hereditary cause for hearing loss
You want to ensure your childs vision is the best it can be. Many children who are deaf or hard of hearing rely on their vision for language input.
Children who receive hearing interventions by 6 months of age or sooner are more likely to achieve spoken language, says the AAP. If your child needs hearing aids or other technology, the CDC says getting fitted no later than 3 months old is key to language development.
Babies can be fitted with hearing technology as soon as six weeks after birth. Activating your babys auditory brain pathways ensures your child will not miss out on experiences needed for successful listening, talking and pre-reading skills, and early brain development.
Talk with your childs doctor about access to other services for your child, such as:
Ohios Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program, which can provide resources
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which provides support for early intervention and school programming
When And How Does Hearing Develop
When you are only four to five weeks along in your pregnancy, the cells in the embryo will start to form into a mouth, nose, eyes, and ears. At week nine, indentions will appear where your babys ears will be. Finally, at 18 weeks, they can start to hear sounds. Between weeks 18 and 24, they will start to become more sensitive to sounds. It isnt until they have reached week 25 or 26, that they will start to respond to voices. There are a lot of different noises that your baby will hear besides voices. They are surrounded by amniotic fluid, which causes the things that they do hear to be muffled. Some studies have shown that noises from inside the womb are muted by about half. Just like once they are out of the womb, all babies are different. What one baby responds to, another might sleep through. You just need to try a few different things to see what they will enjoy.
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Infants And Babies Hearing Can Be Checked
Do you know that your babys hearing can be checked even before leaving the birth hospital? Many states, communities, and hospitals offer hearing screening for babies. A babys hearing can be screened using Automated Auditory Brainstem Response , Otoacoustic Emissions , or both.
Babies usually have their hearing screened while still in the hospital, either in the nursery or in their mothers room.
Signs Of Hearing In Babies
It can be difficult to tell whether hearing aids are working in a young baby with a hearing loss. In the first six months, the signs that your baby can hear are subtle.
As a parent, you no doubt feel concerned about your baby’s development. This information will help you recognise your baby’s responses to sound.
How can you tell when a baby hears sounds?
A baby’s response to sound is affected by their age, stage of development and degree of hearing loss.
A lack of response doesn’t necessarily mean your baby cannot hear.
Babies with normal hearing don’t respond to the softest sounds that they can hear in the first two months of life. At this stage the baby’s responses to sound are hard to detect – babies might widen their eyes when they hear a sound, or stir in their sleep
Different levels of sound arouse various responses in babies, depending on how active they are. Babies react to softer sounds when they are just dozing off to sleep as opposed to when awake and active.
Some sounds will be more interesting to your baby than others. In early life, babies are intrigued by voices, so they will respond to voice at softer levels than they would respond to other noises around the home.
Babies are also more interested in complex sounds like rattles or music than in simple sounds like beeps or simple whistles. If a sound is repeated too often, young babies lose interest and may stop responding altogether. This is called habituation.
Observing your baby at home
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