Newborn Hearing Screening - A National Standard of Care
After several years of study and consideration, the Utah Legislature determined that testing the hearing of newborns would be very helpful to Utah families. In 1998 they passed legislation that newborns in hospitals with over 100 births per year would have a hearing screening prior to discharge. In 1999 all births (including home births) were required to have a hearing screen.
A hearing loss cannot be seen. Infants with hearing loss cry and make other sounds just like babies with normal hearing.
Hearing loss is the most common birth defect In Utah, about 1 in every 300 babies is born with a permanent hearing loss. You need normal hearing to develop normal speech and language.
How Is It Done?
There are two types of tests which are used in screening infants. Neither one of them hurt.
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) - Soft sounds are directed into the ear through a tiny ear probe. A computer then measures the inner ear responses.
- Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR) - Small probes are placed in the infant's ears. Soft clicking sounds are directed into the ear. A computer measures the response to sounds through wires attached to the infant's head.
A simple hearing test at birth can prevent big problems later on!
Early identification is the "best chance to learn." If your baby missed or did not pass the newborn hearing screening, it is very important to have a follow-up hearing screening. Please contact the birth hospital to make arrangements or contact Children's Hearing and Speech Services, Utah Department of Health at (801) 584-8215.
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