Before you take your baby home from the hospital, most states require a hearing screening. Early detection of a hearing problem can help babies with a hearing loss receive early intervention and timely care. About three out of every thousand newborns in the United States have some degree of hearing loss. Therefore, it is important to learn as much as possible about the screenings so that you can be an informed new parent.
#1-Understand The Initial Screenings
It is a good idea to remember that the tests given to babies soon after birth may take as little as 10 minutes to complete and are not painful.. A screening provides a pass or fail result without determining the cause or severity of the hearing loss. It is fairly common for the initial screening to be repeated, as retained amniotic fluid or an inability to lie still during the procedure can impact the accuracy of the result.
If your baby fails their screening, your pediatrician is likely to suggest followup care with a pediatric audiologist. It will be useful to remember that some children fail initial screenings and pass the more complex tests later, so there is no need to worry right away. Both of the following tests are accurate, and hospitals will frequently choose one over the other due to cost, the number of babies being tested and other factors that will not affect patient care.
#2-Know What To Expect From The OAE
One of the more common evaluations that a baby will be given is the otoacoustic emissions or OAEs. This test uses a tiny earphone and microphone within the ear to produce a sound that can be immediately measured. When your baby does not have a hearing problem, the microphone makes sound that reverberates through the ear canal, so babies with a hearing loss do not produce or measure that echo.
#3-Consider The ABR
Another test that your baby can benefit from is the auditory brainstem response or ABR. It works by producing sound to a sleeping or quiet patient and using electrodes that have been attached to the head to record brain activity. It is particularly useful for children, since it does not require a physical reaction. Instead, it simply measures the brain activity in relation to the sounds.
In conclusion, your baby's first visit with an audiologist after not passing a hearing test is likely to be a challenging time. By knowing what to expect and being as informed as possible about your baby's possible disability, early diagnosis and effective treatment of the hearing deficit can improve your child's quality of life.
For more information, contact Desert Knolls Hearing Center or a similar location.