How Is A Hearing Test Done On Newborn

What Do The Results Mean

Newborn Hearing Testing Screening (OAE and ABR)

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 its likely to be temporary or permanent and your child will receive appropriate treatment and support.

Your Baby Probably Had A Hearing Screening

Almost all states, communities, and hospitals now screen newborns for hearing loss before the babies leave the hospital. The hearing screening is easy and painless, and it can determine if more testing is needed. In fact, many babies sleep through the hearing screening, and the test usually takes just a few minutes.

How The Test Is Done

The newborn hearing screening test checks your babys inner ear . When a healthy ear receives sound, the inner part produces an echo. Recording this tells us that the hearing is satisfactory.

This screening test can be repeated if a clear response is not achieved in either one or both ears.

  • The screener will put a small soft-tipped earpiece in your babys outer ear.
  • They will then play clicking sounds into your babys ear.
  • The screening equipment will check that your babys inner ear is echoing the clicking sounds.
  • If the results are not clear, the screener will repeat the test.
  • If the results are still not clear, the screener will do a second test.
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    What The Results Mean

    Donât be alarmed if your newborn doesnât pass their hearing test. Some babies with normal hearing donât pass this first screening. There are many reasons why this may happen:

    • The test was given in a noisy room.
    • The person giving the test didnât have enough experience.
    • The earphones or probes didnât fit into your babyâs ears well.
    • Your baby moved around too much during the test.
    • There was fluid in your babyâs ears when they were tested.

    If your child didnât have a normal hearing test, theyâll need to see a special hearing doctor, called an audiologist, before theyâre 3 months old. When you take them to see this doctor, theyâll take follow-up tests to see if thereâs really a hearing problem. If there is, the doctor will find out whatâs causing the problem and how much hearing loss your baby has. Sometimes, the doctor may send you to an ear-nose-throat specialist for your babyâs treatment.

    How Should We Prepare For An Abr

    A day in the life of a newborn hearing screener

    Preparing for the test depends on your childs age. Older kids might get sedation for an ABR. If so, you will get instructions about fasting before the test and what to do at home after the test.

    If your child is:

    • Younger than 6 months, the ABR can usually be done without sedation. Your baby must sleep during the entire test. To help your baby stay asleep:
    • In the hours before the test, dont feed your baby or let your baby sleep.
    • Arrive for the test when your baby is hungry and tired but awake.
    • Before the test begins, the audiologist will ask you to feed your baby and get your little one comfortable. Your baby can sleep in your arms or a crib for the test.
  • 6 months or older, the ABR might be done with sedation. This will help your child stay completely still and quiet during the test.
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    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.

    Before Newborn Screening: Questions To Ask

    Many parents have questions about NBS. Following is a list of questions that you may want to ask your health care provider or your babys health care provider before your babys birth, before your babys screening, or while your baby is being screened.

    • Will I need to ask for my baby to be screened?
    • When does NBS happen?

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    Why Are All Babies Screened At Birth

    Most babies are born healthy. However, they appear and seem like normal newborns, few infants have rare, but serious medical problems. Such babies usually belong to families who have no previous history of severe disability. Newborn screening lets doctors treat and detect certain diseases before they cause babies to become ill. Usually, babies with such disorders, when diagnosed and treated early enough can develop normally and can grow up healthy.

    What Is Newborn Hearing Screening

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Importance of screening your newborn’s hearing

    Most babies are born with normal hearing and experience the beauty of sound from the beginning but 1-3 out of 1000 are born with hearing loss. Those children cannot properly hear their parents speak, sing or read to them which delays speech and language learning. Newborn hearing screening identifies babies at risk for hearing loss so they can be evaluated and treated early.

    The hearing screening is performed in the hospital by a nurse or outside of the hospital by a health professional. Many countries have implemented Universal Newborn Hearing Screening so that every baby has access to hearing screening soon after birth.

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    When Should My Baby’s Hearing Be Tested

    All babies should be screened for hearing loss no later than 1 month of age . It is best if they are screened before leaving the hospital after birth. If a baby does not pass a hearing screening, its very important to get a full hearing test as soon as possible, but no later than 3 months of age.

    What To Do If Your Child Fails A Hearing Test

    If yourchildfaileda hearing screening, the first thing to do is to get yourchilds hearing tested by an audiologist who specializes in evaluating children. Sometimes the problem is due to an ear infection sometimes it is permanent. Only testing will confirm hearing ability and the cause if there is a problem.

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    When Is Newborn Hearing Screening Test Performed

    The screening test can be performed at the earliest. It is usually carried out at the hospital before the baby gets discharged. Experts recommend that the test is conducted when the infant is about a month old as they can clearly differentiate between sounds at this stage in life. However, there is no harm in extending the test until the infant is three months old.

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    Your Babys Visit To The Audiology Clinic

    Get Your Little One For Baby

    Audiology clinics have special equipment to test your babys hearing. These tests will give better information about your babys hearing.

    Early testing means you will know if your baby has a hearing loss when they are still very young. This is important for their future development.

    Your baby needs more tests because their hearing screening tests did not show a clear response in one or both ears. About 2 to 3 babies in every 100 do not show a clear response and are referred to audiology.

    Most babies tested at an audiology clinic are found to have satisfactory hearing.

    About 1 in 15 babies tested at the audiology clinic have a permanent hearing loss in one or both ears. Some have a temporary hearing loss. Finding out about hearing loss early gives babies a better chance of developing language, speech and communication skills as well as making sure their families receive the support they need.

    It is important you bring your baby to the appointment. This is because they may need other tests to find a possible cause if they do have a hearing loss. These tests should be performed within the first few weeks of birth.

    Some babies who have a hearing loss do react to sounds. The hearing loss may not be picked up without the tests in audiology.

    If your baby does have a hearing loss, it is important to find out as soon as possible.

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    What Is The Difference Between A Hearing Screening And A Test

    To keep it short a screening is done to determine whether or not more testing is required. In newborn hearing screenings, the screening is performed and the newborn either passes, i.e., they are deemed not to be at risk for hearing loss, or they are referred, i.e. they need more testing to determine whether or not there is a hearing loss, or if they are at risk for developing hearing loss.

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    Treatment Options For Hearing Loss

    If your baby has hearing loss, youll be referred to an audiologist and an ear, nose, and throat doctor to determine how to manage their condition. Depending on the severity of your babys hearing loss, the doctor may recommend a variety of solutions. They may also provide you with recommendations for family support groups to help your family cope.

    Hearing loss intervention in babies can include recommending a hearing device such as a pediatric hearing aid or cochlear implants. But as your child grows, there are other techniques to help them improve their language and communication skills.

    In the United States, your child may learn American Sign Language . They may also learn skills such as lipreading or cued speech to help guide their communication. Alternatively, assistive listening devices such as personal FM amplifiers and closed captioning can also make understanding language in everyday life easier.

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    What Are Some Signs That A Child Has A Hearing Problem

    Without newborn hearing screening and special tests, the signs of hearing loss can be very hard to find. Sometimes babies and children seem very alert, so you think they can hear you well, but they are actually using their other senses to know what is going on around them. Or, as they get older, they learn to read your lips on their own.

    If you are concerned about or suspect a hearing problem, or if you notice any of the signs listed below, see your doctor as soon possible and ask about a hearing test.

    What Happens During The Hearing Test For Babies

    Newborn Hearing Screening Test | How itâs done
    • Small sensors are placed on your babys forehead, and below and above an ear.
    • A cushioned earpiece is placed over one ear at a time and a chirping sound is played through this.
    • The sensors on your babys head pick up the response from your babys hearing nerve.
    • A computer measures the response and provides a result.
    • The test takes about 1520 minutes and doesnt cause your baby any pain.
    • A second test is offered if the results from the first test are unclear.

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    What Is Newborn Infant Hearing Screening

    • Newborn infant hearing screening programs are designed to identify hearing loss in infants shortly after birth.
    • All states have implemented these screening protocols within hospitals and birthing clinics.
    • Most hearing screening tests are done prior to discharge from the hospital or birthing clinics.
    • Typically, nurses or medical assistants are trained extensively on how to operate automated equipment for testing infants. Prior to discharge, each newborn has his/her hearing tested. If, for some reason, the newborn does not pass the screen, a rescreen is usually done. If the infant does not pass the second hearing test, he/she is referred to a specialist for further testing.
    • Specialists who are experts at testing hearing are called audiologists. Audiologists have had training that emphasizes diagnostic hearing testing techniques as well as hearing rehabilitation of children and adults. Their postgraduate academic training requires a minimum of a masters degree.

    What Happens If My Baby Doesnt Pass The Test

    The hearing specialist will conduct tests to determine whether your baby has a hearing problem and, if so, the type and severity of that problem.

    • If any newborn kid doesnt pass in screening test at birth then it doesnt mean that he has a hearing problem, but it means that more tests are required.
    • Kids sometimes fail the first test because they have liquid in the middle ear in the ear canal, or because the place is too noisy or theyre too feisty during the test. Many kids who fail the first test go on to pass follow-up testing.

    Follow up testing

    Between 2 to 10 percent of all babies across the United States do not pass their first hearing screen.

    However, Many newborn babies are not able to pass the hearing screening due to vernix in the ear canal, fluid in the middle ear, or because of movement or crying during the test.

    Since few babies have a hearing loss, it becomes very important that you go through all the procedures by fixing an appointment to confirm test results.

    Make sure you have completed all the tests before your baby is 3 months old.

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    Identifying Babies At Risk For Permanent Hearing Loss

    Babies with certain risks for hearing loss will be monitored. The same sample collected by the hospital or midwife for the newborn blood spot screening can be screened for:

    • Cytomegalovirus infection babies usually show no symptoms at birth but hearing loss could develop later
    • Some common genetic risk factors there is usually no family history of hearing loss

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