There are 2 main types of hearing screening methods for newborns. These may be used
alone or together:
Evoked otoacoustic emissions (EOAE). A test that uses a
tiny, flexible plug that is put into the baby's ear. Soft clicking sounds are
sent through the plug. A microphone in the plug records the otoacoustic responses
(emissions) of the normal ear in reaction to the sounds. There are no emissions in
a baby with hearing loss. This test is painless and often takes just a few
minutes. It's done while the baby sleeps.
Auditory brainstem response (ABR). A test that uses
wires (electrodes) attached with adhesive to the baby's forehead and behind each
ear. While the baby sleeps, clicking sounds are made through tiny earphones in the
baby's ears. The test measures the brain's activity in response to the sounds. As
in EOAE, this test is painless and takes only a few minutes.
If the screening tests finds that
your child has a hearing loss, more testing is needed. Babies with hearing loss should
be identified by age 3 months. Then treatment can begin before the baby is 6 months
an important time for speech and language development.