Why Is Early Detection So Important?
Nearly three of every one thousand babies are born with some form of hearing loss. In most cases, however, hearing issues aren’t discovered in children until they are at least two years old. The first two years of a child’s life are hugely important in physical development as well as in forming emotional, learning and communication skills. Because of this, babies with moderate to severe hearing loss often experience major developmental setbacks.
Despite many years of developing and refining these hearing evaluations for babies that are just a few months old, studying infant hearing loss still presents many challenges. If you’re a new parent preparing for a newborn hearing screening, there are several important factors and facts you need to know before your appointment.
There Are Two Common Hearing Evaluations Used for Newborns
The first is called an Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test, which measures the response of a baby’s hearing nerve using electrodes. The second is the Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) test, which uses a microphone and earphone to calculate an infant’s hearing abilities by measuring the reflection of a sound’s echo as it passes through the ear canal.
Both tests are non-invasive and can be done while the baby sleeps naturally.
False Positives for Hearing Loss Are Common in Newborn Screenings
Your baby’s first hearing screening will likely be performed within a few hours or days of birth. Statistics show that approximately two percent of infant hearing evaluations performed in the United States indicate hearing loss. Rather than a diagnosis, these evaluations are administered in order to help parents identify a potential problem as early as possible, promoting the prevention of developmental disorders.
It’s Important to Continue Following up on Irregular Newborn Hearing Screening Results
Since one in 10–50 newborn hearing screenings indicate a potential hearing loss, many parents are left wondering about their child’s hearing. It’s critical to identify permanent hearing loss symptoms as early as possible in infants, so regularly retesting your infant’s hearing is highly advisable. Talk to an audiologist about your situation to find out how frequently you should test your child’s hearing to detect possible hearing loss problems.
Call Columbus Speech and Hearing at (614) 263-5151 for more information or to schedule an appointment.