There are 2 main types of hearing screening methods for newborns. These may be used
alone or together:
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 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
an important time for speech and language development.