According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, two to three of every 1,000 babies is born with hearing loss in one or both ears. Left untreated, this can have devastating impacts in terms of their ability to reach speech-language milestones on track. Newborn hearing screenings can ensure proper interventions take place so your baby can develop speech-language skills alongside their peers.
Why Screen All Babies?
One study reports that, “Early screening programs focused on children with known risks… However, recent studies indicate that 19 to 42 percent of profoundly hearing-impaired children will be missed with targeted, risk factor-based screening.”
Fortunately, in 2000, the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Act was passed to ensure all children get the help they need. This program ensures:
- All babies are screened for hearing loss no later than one month of age.
- If a baby does not pass the screening, they undergo a diagnostic hearing test no later than three months of age.
- Children diagnosed with hearing loss receive intervention services no later than six months of age.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates that with the EHDI program in place, about 98% of all children born in the United States have had their hearing screened since this act was passed.
What Are the Benefits of Screening Early?
Babies begin to develop their language skills through their sense of hearing from the moment they’re born. If a baby has hearing loss, it can impede their ability to pick up on spoken language as well as delay their speech skills.
This can have major effects on development later on, including on school performance and socialization. It can also lead to behavioral issues.
Fortunately, if babies are screened early, interventions can begin early. Interventions allow babies with hearing loss to achieve normal or near-normal speech-language milestones.
What Are the Types of Newborn Hearing Screenings?
Another benefit of newborn hearing screenings is they are quick and painless. In fact, they can even be conducted while your baby is asleep. There are two tests available:
Auditory Brainstem Response
During ABR testing, a set of headphones and some electrodes are placed on your baby’s head, which are connected to a computer. The electrodes record your baby’s brainwave activity in response to sounds played through the headphones.
During OAEs testing, a small earbud containing a microphone and an earphone is placed in your child’s ear. Sounds are played through the earbud, and any echo responses coming from the cochlea are recorded on a computer.
For more information or to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, call Victory Hearing & Balance today.