After you take your new bundle home, it is a time of learning. From how they like to be held to fall asleep, to how they respond to everything around them. If something is off, you may need to take your baby for a hearing test.

While no one wants to believe their baby has a problem, it’s best to find out early so that your baby doesn’t face any development delays. Read on to learn about these tests for babies.

What is a Hearing Screening?

A hearing screening is a test that checks if a baby hears accurately.

Two kinds of newborn hearing screening tests are done after birth to test for hearing deficiencies.

The two tests for newborns are:

1. Evoked otoacoustic emissions (EOAE)

2. Auditory brainstem response (ABR)

Babies over seven months up to 2 years require other types of hearing tests. Some of these include:

  • behavioral audiometry tests
  • Sound field testing with visual reinforcement

Many hearing tests are used for children of all ages; still, some are based on the child’s age and level of understanding.

Why Do Babies Need Hearing Tests?

Sometimes your baby has failed the newborn screening and requires a pediatric audiologist to assess them further. As you get to know your baby, you may have noticed they don’t respond to noise as you think they should, and you may want to alleviate your concerns.

There several symptoms of hearing loss that can include:

  • Not being startled by loud noises
  • Not moving to face a sound after six months old
  • Not saying words like “mama” or “dada” by the time they reach one year
  • Will turn to you if they see you, but doesn’t move when you call out their name
  • Appears to hear some sounds but not others

What Can Cause Hearing Loss?

Roughly one to three babies out of a thousand are affected by hearing loss. Even more, congenital hearing loss is common as a birth defect.

Many things can cause hearing loss; still, most of the time, the cause is untraceable.

Hearing loss can occur if your baby :

  • was in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
  • was a premature baby
  • needed a blood transfusion due to high levels of bilirubin from newborn jaundice
  • was given medicine that can cause a loss of hearing
  • has family who suffered from childhood hearing problems
  • suffered complication at birth
  • is prone to ear infections

When should My Baby Be Tested?

While newborn hearing screening can generally identify most babies that are born with hearing loss, there are some exceptions. When the issue is precipitated by things like trauma, infections, and noise levels that cause the damage, the problem doesn’t appear until later.

Researchers say that the number of people who have hearing loss doubles between birth and teen years. This is why it’s essential to have their hearing checked periodically by a pediatric audiologist as they grow.

Treatments for Hearing Loss in Babies

Once your baby has been diagnosed, your pediatric audiologist will discuss possible treatments for your child. These depend on the severity and possible cause of the hearing loss. Some of the options can include cochlear implants, hearing aids or a mix of speech therapy and assistive listening devices.

What’s Next?

Children should be able to experience all the sights and should be filled with joyfulness. When it seems they are missing things, take action to get hearing tests done as soon as possible.  Contact us if you need help or more tests.

Dr. Kathy Feng

Dr. Kathy Feng

Dr. Kathy Feng is a NY State licensed Doctor of Audiology with over 10 years of experience working with patients of all ages. Part of her inspiration came from watching her grandmother struggle with hearing loss during her golden years.