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. 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 it
often takes just a few minutes. It is done while the baby sleeps.
Auditory brainstem response
(ABR). A test that uses wires (electrodes) attached with adhesive to the
baby's scalp. 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 old,
an important time for speech and language development.