A newborn hearing test, neonatal hearing screening through OAE testing, the vital baby tests in detecting baby hearing loss, baby hearing and enable good language development for the child.
Sweden, the world leader in baby care, offers neonatal hearing screening to all babies as a way of detecting hearing loss in children as early as possible.
The otoacoustic emission measurement is tested on every baby in the maternity ward after the first couple of days.
The test method used is well proven and has for years been used in newborns in Sweden.
In the US the newborn hearing test is now mandatory in 38 states, but most hospitals and doctors are testing baby hearing before he leaves the hospital.
If your hospital doesn't offer hearing testing for newborns, you should ask your pediatrician to arrange AOE testing with an audiologist before your baby is 12 weeks old.
If your baby has a hearing loss, hearing aids can today be fitted in a baby who is only 6 months old, or younger.
The most common method for newborn hearing test is the registration of oto acoustic emissions (OAE).
OAE is a way to test the inner ear function. Audio clicks give rise to a faint echo in a healthy ear and is used in hearing screenings of newborns.
The examination is quick, pain free and doesn't cause any discomfort for the baby.
Should the result be unsatisfactory the test is done again.
The purpose is to detect congenital hearing loss early in order to be able to deploy hearing tools and thus enable a good language development for the child.
The hearing test makes it possible to begin rehabilitation if there is a congenital hearing impairment.
The method AOE means that a small plug containing a transmitter and a microphone is inserted into the baby's ear.
When the transmitter sends clicking sounds, the hair cells in the inner ear are set in motion.
These hair movements produce gentle sounds that are absorbed and transmitted by the microphone and recorded via three electrodes pasted on the baby's head.
The sound is a proof that there is no hearing damage to the inner ear.
If the newborn hearing test measurement doesn't give normal results, or the baby fails the test, your baby's hearing can still be normal.
Technical conditions in the measurement can affect the hearing results, such as stuff left in the ear from birth, like amniotic fluid or vernix in the baby's ear canal.
If the baby doesn't pass a retest, further testing will diagnose the hearing impairment.
If further testing is required ABR - brain stem response is used.
Brainstem is an electrophysiological method to rule out any hearing symptoms that are caused by an auditory nerve or brain stem injury.
The ear is stimulated with a crackling noise that creates activity in the inner ear and the auditory nerve. The activity is automatically recorded through electrodes placed behind the ears and forehead.
Statistics On Congenital Hearing Loss:
These babies are followed up at the hearing clinic.
What can happen later with baby hearing?
Although the infant has normal hearing, problems may arise later, mainly due to middle ear inflammation.
It is therefore important to pay attention to the child's hearing and language development.
Hearing is a very important part of a baby's life. Therefore, even if your baby was tested at birth, if you are unsure or concerned he might have a hearing problem, have it checked again now.
When moderate hearing loss is found early and treated, a baby may avoid long term problems affecting his development.