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Newborn Hearing Screening Test

Newborn hearing test program is designed to identify a problem of hearing in babies shortly after birth. Before you bring your newborn baby to home from hospital, they need a hearing screening. However, most of the babies can hear normally where 1-3 out 1,000 babies are born with some degree of hearing loss.

The need for Newborn Hearing Test

The first three years of life for a baby are very important when the brain is developing. Children begin to learn speech and language in the first 6 months of life. Research suggests that children with hearing loss develop better language skills that get help early.

The baby hearing loss should be screened before they left the hospital for home. If your baby hearing loss is not detected during the first month of life ask your doctor to screen your child today. If the screening shows a possible problem, quick action can be taken.

Type of Newborn Hearing Test

  • Otoacoustic Emissions Test (OAE): During the test, a sound stimulation is passed inside the ear through a miniature microphone or earphone. If an echo is reflected back into the ear canal, the baby hears normally. In case of no echo, a reduced echo can be measured.
  • Auditory Brainstem Response Test (ABR): It is the best available hearing loss test for newborns and infants up to 6 months old. To detect responses, electrodes are placed on babies head. With the help of an earphone, sounds are presented inside an ear. The electrode records the response in the computer.

What to do if your baby does not pass the test

If after birth, your baby has not passed hear screening test, it does not necessarily mean that your baby has a hearing loss. Typically, most of the babies who don’t pass the hearing test have normal hearing. It is crucial to consider further testing for hearing and medical evaluation. The combination of test can confirm whether the baby hearing is normal. These tests should be conducted before the baby is 3 months old. Consult your doctor for scheduling further testing.

Hearing loss treatment

Every baby should be consulted by a hearing specialist (an audiologist). Some children with the problem of hearing loss can have a difficulty of visions which you can consult with a paediatric eye doctor. The treatment depends on the type of hearing loss.

If the hearing loss is permanent then the best treatment recommended in children is hearing aids and specialised speech & language therapy. Occasionally, at times your doctor may recommend you a surgical procedure. You will be informed with the communicating choices for your baby including oral communication, total communication, sign language or cued speech.

The viewpoint is excellent for children with hearing loss who commence an early intervention program, typically before the age of 6 months. Research shows that these babies develop more language skills on a par with those of their hearing peers.

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