You may be surprised to discover that doctors are going to be checking your baby’s hearing only days after the birth. In this article, we look at why hearing tests for newborns are so important. In addition, we outline what’s involved in checking your baby’s hearing.
Why Are Doctors Checking Your Baby’s Hearing Even before You Leave Hospital?
Only a small number of babies suffers from hearing difficulties. So, why are the tests done so early? Experts stress the importance of early intervention. The sooner hearing difficulties become apparent, the faster physicians can take steps to deal with these difficulties.
Because the ability to hear facilitates speech and language development, hearing difficulties can have a negative impact on that development. Hence, if hearing difficulties exist, medical professionals are eager to embark on a suitable treatment as soon as possible.
What’s Involved in a Hearing Test for Newborns?
Checking your baby’s hearing shouldn’t worry you. Though your baby may get a little startled, most babies hardly even notice the tests taking place. In a routine screening, doctors can carry out two different types of tests:
- Otoacoustic Emissions Test (OAE): In this test, the medical professional places a small microphone and earphone in your baby’s ear to measure the response to sounds. If there’s no echo, it may mean that your baby has hearing difficulties.
- Auditory Brainstem Response Test (ABR): Here, the audiologist measures the baby’s response to sounds. Wires are attached to your baby’s head to pick up on the response to the sounds your baby hears through a set of earphones. Computer software then evaluates if the response is adequate.
Both tests are entirely pain-free.
What Happens If There Is a Problem?
If doctors identify any sign of hearing loss, they will diagnose the cause and recommend the best treatment.