Why test newborn hearing?

A child with undetected hearing loss may not be able to develop the normal speech and language needed for learning. What’s more, children whose hearing loss is not identified until they are two or three years old may also suffer from permanently impaired speech and language skills. These can lead to learning, social and emotional difficulties.

Tami Mehl Audiology believes in the early identification of hearing loss, to allow for intervention, if needed, at a young age. All babies can, and should, have their hearing tested before leaving the hospital after birth, or before their six-week check-up with the paediatrician. Screening is available at most hospitals, as early as 12 hours after birth.

Babies who’ve been in NICU

We strongly recommend an additional hearing test, if your baby has spent time in NICU. The assessmentis called an Auditory Brainstem Response or ABR. During this test, sounds are played into the baby’s ears and electrodes are gently placed on the baby’s head to detect responses.

The test measures how the hearing nerve responds to sounds and can identify babies with hearing loss. A baby that shows signs of possible hearing loss is referred for diagnostic testingHearing aids and therapy may be needed to help the baby listen and speak.

Our type of hearing screening

How do you test a baby’s hearing? Tami Mehl Audiology uses Oto-Acoustic Emissions (OAE) in our hearing screening. This type of special electrophysiological testing which does not require a behavioural response from the baby. During this test, a miniature earphone and microphone are placed lightly in the ear, sounds are played and the baby’s response is measured.

If the baby hears normally, an echo is reflected back into the ear canal and is measured by the microphone. If a baby has fluid in the ear from after birth, an ear infection or a possible hearing loss, no echo can be measured and further testing may be required.

Where do we test babies?

Tami Mehl Audiology offers neonatal hearing screening at these maternity units:

If you have a concern, question or related issue, please contact us today. We can help.

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