Infant Hearing Screening by sammyc2007


									   Infant Hearing Screening

        Presented to you by the
       Minnesota Department of Health
Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS)
Why test a baby’s hearing
so early?

 Speech and language development may
 begin as early as in the womb.
 Hearing loss, present at birth, can
 interfere with the development of normal
 speech and language.
 Newborn hearing screening is an
 important part of early identification.
How common is hearing

 There are about 67,000 births in Minnesota
 every year.
 4 babies are born per week with congenital
 hearing loss.
 Approximately 1 of every 1,000 children is born
 deaf and 3-5 are born hard of hearing.
 Research has shown that identifying hearing
 loss early (ex. before 3 months) and beginning
 intervention services before 6 months of age will
 improve outcomes for these children.
Are babies screened for hearing
loss at birth in Minnesota?

  95% of babies born in Minnesota are now being
  screened for hearing loss at birth.
  104 out of 111 birthing hospitals are now
  screening all babies for hearing loss. For a list
  of these hospitals, please visit our website at
  If you don’t know if your baby’s hearing was
  screened, ask before you are discharged.
  Screening for hearing loss at birth is the best
  way to ensure that babies will not be missed.
How will your baby’s
hearing be tested?

 Testing will not require your baby to make
 a behavioral response to sound.
 Instead, there are two major objective
 computerized tests that can be done
 when your baby is sleeping. Your hospital
 may use one or both of them.
   Automated Auditory Brainstem Response
   Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs)
Auditory Brainstem Response (A-ABR)

This tests measures your
baby’s neural activity in
response to sounds played in
your baby’s ear.
Earphones are placed over the
ears, and 3 sensors are
positioned on your baby’s
These sensors record your
baby’s neural responses to
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs)

This test works by placing a soft probe
in your baby’s ear. Soft sounds are
played into the ear causing movement of
thousands of microscopic hair cells in
the inner ear.
When hair cells move, they create
sounds of their own. These sounds, like
echoes, travel back through your baby’s
ear canal and are recorded by a sensitive
The presence of OAEs usually indicates
normal cochlear (inner ear) function.
What do the test results

 There are three possible outcomes:
   Bilateral Pass (Both ears pass)
   Unilateral Refer (Only one ear passes)
   Bilateral Refer (Neither ear passes)
What is a “Bilateral Pass?”

    Bilateral Pass means that both of your baby’s
    ears passed the hearing screen.
    The structures of both ears are working
    Hearing is likely adequate to allow them to
    hear speech. (At least on the date testing was
Now that my baby passed the screen,
is there anything more I should do?

 Yes. Determine whether your baby has risk
 factors for future hearing loss. (Screening
 personnel can help you or visit

 Monitor your child’s speech and language
 milestones and seek audiological services if you
 develop concerns regarding your child’s hearing.
What is a “Refer?”

  “Refer” means that one or both of your baby’s ears
  did not pass the newborn screen.
  A “refer” is not a diagnosis of hearing loss. It simply
  means that further diagnostic testing is needed
  soon. Your physician will refer you to see an
  audiologist for further testing.
  You may receive a letter indicating a “refer.” It is
  very important to seek a re-screen or diagnostic
  testing of the ear or ears that do not pass.
  A follow-up re-screen should be completed within 4
  weeks of discharge from the hospital.
Why didn’t my baby pass?

 The most common reason is the presence of
 birthing debris in the ear canal or fluid in the
 middle ear.
 Of course, there is also the possibility of hearing
 It is very important to make and keep re-
 screen or diagnostic testing appointments
 so that a more definite assessment of your
 baby’s hearing sensitivity can be made.
A few more reminders...

 Consult a “hearing checklist” and monitor your
 child’s speech and language milestones.
   The MN Department of Health has a hearing checklist
   for you in English, Spanish, Somali and Hmong at:
   You can also ask for checklists from your physician,
   an audiologist, or a speech-language pathologist.
 If you have concerns about your child’s hearing,
 please consult with an audiologist or family
Early Intervention is the key!

 Early intervention is so important when
 improving the outcomes for children with
 hearing loss.
 If your child is found to have hearing loss
 following further diagnostic testing by an
 audiologist, ask for a referral to your local
 school Early Childhood Education program.
 These professionals can help you gain the
 information you need to make the best
 decisions for your child.
  Infant Hearing Screening

       Presented to you by the
  Minnesota Department of Health
Universal Newborn Hearing Screening

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