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VARIETY NEWBORN HEARING SCREENING PROGRAM INFORMATION FOR

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					                    VARIETY NEWBORN HEARING SCREENING PROGRAM
                         INFORMATION FOR PARENTS/GUARDIANS


Approximately 2 babies out of every 1000 are born with permanent hearing loss in both ears.
Normal hearing is essential for the development of speech and language – so, if a baby has a
hearing difficulty, it is important to identify and treat it from as young an age as possible. For this
reason, Flinders Medical Centre has introduced a universal newborn hearing screening program.


STEP 1 – TESTING
Your baby’s hearing can be screened prior to discharge from hospital, or by the maternity
outreach midwife at home. The screening test is quick, harmless and will not hurt the baby. The
test is best done when your baby is asleep, but the test can also be carried out if your baby is
settled and quiet.

The midwife will place a soft, rubber earpiece in your baby’s ear. The baby will simply hear a
buzzing sound. A healthy young ear produces a kind of ‘echo’ in response to this sound, which is
recorded by a small microphone within the earpiece. Both ears will be tested. This test is called
an otoacoustic emission test (OAE).

What does a pass result mean?
PASS means that a good response was recorded from your baby’s ears. This response means
that hearing is sufficient for the development of speech and language and that no further testing
is recommended at this stage.


STEP 2 – REFERRAL
REFER indicates that a good response could not be recorded from your baby’s ear(s). This could
be due to high noise in the test room, activity from your baby, blockage of the ear canal or an ear
infection, OR it may mean permanent hearing loss in one or both ears.

If a good response could not be obtained at the first test, your baby’s hearing will be tested again
within a few days, either before discharge or by the maternity outreach midwife at home. If the
second screening test is also unable to provide a good result, an audiologist is available to
assess all babies for whom there is the slightest concern.

Concern for your child’s hearing should not stop at birth
The results of the hearing screening show how your baby hears at the time of the test. Some
babies who pass this test may develop hearing loss during childhood as a result of repeated ear
infections, chronic illness or inherited ear problems. If you have any concerns about your child’s
hearing ability or speech and language development, please talk to your GP, Child and Youth
Health Nurse or specialist.

An audiologist at Flinders Medical Centre can be contacted on ph: 8204 5933 or 8204 5964 if you
have any questions about the hearing screening program, or if you are concerned about your
baby’s test results at any stage.




For further information, please visit http://www.flinders.sa.gov.au/womenandchildren       June 2003
Flinders Medical Centre, Flinders Drive, Bedford Park, SA 5042

				
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