Hearing screening yes this is as important as any vaccination provided to your newborn baby. We are not so aware about this as it is not a compulsory test in Indian hospitals. But I am happy to see now private hospitals are taking initiative in new-born screening. This test is now included in compulsory test for newborns.
We had this test for our baby girl at Apollo Cradle, in starting few days. I was really tensed when the doctor said they are not getting response so they need to do test again. After one month, thankfully she started responding soon and we were happy as no such test happened again.
But as I was unaware of these test and all details, I decided to learn more about this and share with all new moms. Let’s discuss more about hearing screening and related details.
What is newborn hearing screening?
New born hearing screening focus on identifying hearing loss at early stage. As we all know knowing the problem at early stage is better so that we can get proper solution as soon as possible. Hearing screening can be done as early as starting few days and if any hearing loss is detected further test can be done. We can get confirmation for the level of hearing loss and can start the treatment and early intervention as soon as possible.
Sharing a small video to know how hearing works in my next blog.
Early Intervention refers to therapy and other services provided to babies and family that may help with hearing loss and learning important communication skills.
Now the question is what is hearing loss?
A person who is not able to hear as well as someone with normal hearing is said to have hearing loss. It can vary in severity. A peep with mild hearing loss may find it difficult to understand conversations in noisy places such as restaurant. Someone with moderate hearing loss has difficulty understanding regular conversation unless voices are raised. Others who have severe hearing loss are unable to hear even very loud sounds close to there ears.
What causes hearing loss among newborns?
- Family history
- Infection suffered by the mother during pregnancy
- Premature birth
- Lack of oxygen at the time of birth
- Severe jaundice soon after birth.
How is newborn hearing screening done?
We need to do it as soon as possible,as early the hearing loss is discovered, treatment can begin and baby can get back to normal language and development.
There are two types of screening test that may be used for newborns.
- Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR) – This test measures how the hearing nerves respond to the sounds. Some tones and clicks are played through soft earphones into baby’s ears and three electrodes are placed on baby’s head measures the hearing nerves response.
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) – This test measures sound waves produced in the inner ear. A tiny probe is placed just inside the baby’s ear canal. It measures the response when the clicks or tones are played into baby ears.
What is the next step if the baby not pass the hearing test?
It is possible at time baby not pass the hearing screening at birth as in my case too. But that does not necessarily mean that baby had hearing loss. In fact most of the babies do not pass the hearing test and have normal hearing afterwards, their can be many reason like baby might get fluids inside ear at the time of delivery.
So to be sure, we need to take proper further testing and hearing evaluation with a medical evaluation. Make sure these test are done before baby is three months old, so that if their is any hear loss, treatment can be started as soon as possible and baby can meet all round development at time.
What to be done, when hearing loss is confirmed?
Now when you get confirmation with hearing loss,it is important to know the type and level of hearing loss the baby has. You need to consult good and experienced Audiologist, Otolaryngologist (ear/nose/and throat doctor) and pediatrician. As some babies with hearing loss and have some effects on vision also,so proper test is important.
Audiologist will help you with special hearing test and therapy needed and if the hearing loss is permanent, hearing aid and therapy might be recommended for your baby.
I was really happy to attend this informative session by Cochlear India knowing the importance of new born hearing screening. As most of us are unaware of the fact that out of 1000 babies 1 to 3 are born with some degree of hearing loss. So as earlier we can detect the problem we can start treatment with early intervention.
It feel so good to see Brett Lee Cochlear first Global hearing ambassador . He has been spearheading ‘Sound of cricket’ campaign to raise awareness about the various impacts hearing loss can have on individual life and family. He is actively participating and spreading awareness and giving his personal time and attention, going and attending all government hospitals and meeting all patients.
Covering full details for Cochlear implant in my next blog.😊
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