Hearing Test For Newborn

A hearing test will be offered to the baby in the first few weeks after birth. This is a small and quick test that does not cause any pain to the child.

We will discuss when and how the hearing test for the baby is done and also what to do if the test results are abnormal.

Causes Of Tear Duct Blockage

Some babies are born with tear duct blockage. It is common in babies in about one in 5 newborns, and gradually the problem goes away within a few weeks or months after birth. The cause is just that the tear duct is not fully developed. Blockage goes away once the tear duct is developed. Till the duct develops, there may be some problems to look after. Blockage could be for one eye or both eyes. Rarely blockage could be due to abnormality of the eyes or eyelids.

When is the hearing test done on the baby?

Generally, a hearing test is done before the baby leaves the hospital. The test does not take much time, and the result will be given immediately.

The NICE (UK) guidance recommends that the baby's hearing test should be done in the first 4-5 weeks after they are born. If this is not possible, it can still be done prior to the baby's third month of life.

Hearing loss in babies is not common. In every thousand babies, it affects only one or two babies. However, it is important to get these tests done so the baby can be referred to a specialist if there is any hearing problem.

How Is The Hearing Test Done?

The Automated Otoacoustic Emission (AOAE) screening test is the most common test done. It is commonly done on the first day or so of birth. A professional using a machine inserts a very soft probe into your baby's ears. This demonstrates how well your baby can hear.

It only takes few minutes, and your child should not be uncomfortable during the exam.

If the results of this test are abnormal, your baby may not necessarily be deaf. Because of background noise or because your baby was uneasy, the test may have been abnormal, or the results may not have been clear.

A repeat test is done if the first test is not normal. Later, they may be offered Automated Auditory Brainstem Response(AABR) which is a specialized test. Three tiny sensors and headphones will be placed on the baby's head for this exam. Your baby's ears are covered by the headphones. The device gauges how well sounds flow from your baby's ears to their brainstem through their hearing nerve pathways.

If the test findings are abnormal, what happens?

The baby may have to visit a specialist hearing clinic if the hearing screening of the baby is not clear. Try to feed your baby before the visit if you can.

Even if your child requires a referral, keep in mind that this does not necessarily indicate that they have a hearing issue. Your baby's hearing will be tested by an audiologist, a specialist in hearing. The results will be out mostly before you leave the hospital. Any further tests the baby needs will also be advised.

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