What is a hearing screening for infants?
The hearing screening for infants is done by an audiologist to determine whether an infant has a hearing deficiency.
The test is not at all painful or uncomfortable for the baby. Most even sleep while it’s happening!
The audiologist places a small device that emits sounds (like a small speaker) in the baby’s outer ear. The sounds are received by the inner ear (cochlea), which makes a weak echo of the sounds. A special piece of equipment analyzes the echoes, called optoacoustic emissions.
What does the hearing screening for infants show?
The test results are instantaneous and are explained immediately.
This result indicates that the baby has good hearing or minor hearing impairment. Note that despite its strong sensitivity, the screening test cannot verify all sound frequencies. In addition, some childhood hearing impairments arise some time after birth, for various reasons.
As such, it is very important to carefully monitor your child’s communication development and reaction to sounds as he or she grows.
This result means that your child may have hearing loss in one or both ears. However, conditions surrounding the test, such as too much background noise, may make it difficult for the computer to detect the emissions from the ear, which would influence the test result. More advanced tests would be necessary in this case. If referred to an ENT doctor, the test would entail verification by microscope to detect whether there is an obstruction, like fluid, in the middle ear. Audiology tests may also be done to verify the middle ear (impedance analysis) or to examine the auditory nerve, both of which are adapted for newborns. The audiologist will be able to recommend the specific exams needed and explain them to you when the time comes.