If your baby did not pass his/her newborn hearing screen, he/she should have his/her hearing evaluated by an audiologist as soon as possible. An audiologist is a health care provider who specializes in working with people with hearing loss.
It is important for parents to know that not every baby who did not pass his or her newborn hearing screen actually has hearing loss.
It is important to have the diagnostic assessment completed to learn how your baby is hearing.
Your baby’s birthing facility or primary care provider should help you with making an appointment for your baby to be seen by an audiologist for additional hearing testing. You can also contact an audiologist on your own by clicking here and calling the audiology facility closest to your home. The Indiana State Department of Health Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI, pronounced “Eddie”) Program can also help you. To contact the EHDI Program, please call (888) 815-0006.
Babies who are referred for audiology diagnostic evaluation should receive a complete audiological (hearing) evaluation. This evaluation is done to determine how your baby is hearing, as well as look for possible causes of a baby’s hearing loss.
Diagnostic testing uses the automated auditory brainstem test and other tests to determine how your baby hears. The tests can be done at various loudness levels and at different pitches (high sounds and low sounds). If testing is done before your baby is 3 months of age, the tests can usually be completed while your baby sleeps. For older or more active babies, medicine may be needed to help your baby sleep during the tests. It is important for babies to be quiet and not move much during testing, so the results of the diagnostic testing are accurate.
For more information on diagnostic testing for hearing loss, please click here.
If your baby has been confirmed to have hearing loss, he/she should be referred to First Steps for direct intervention services right away. These services will give you information about the range of available options so that you can make the best decision regarding care and treatment of your child. Babies who are enrolled in direct early intervention services, especially before age 6 months, tend to make the fastest progress.
Hearing aids are devices worn in the ear to allow a person to hear conversation and sounds in the environment. Your baby's doctor must approve use of this device.
A cochlear implant is a hearing device placed in the ear by surgery. People can have either one cochlear implant or two cochlear implants. Cochlear implants are usually used to help people with severe or profound hearing loss who did not receive significant help from hearing aids. Your baby's doctor must approve use of this device.
Hearing technology (including FM systems)
Hearing technology is available for every type and degree of hearing loss. One example of hearing technology for newborns or children is an FM system. An FM system is a two-part device—both the person talking and the person listening wear part of the FM system. The person talking wears a transmitter (of speech). The person listening wears a receiver (of speech). Speech is transmitted through an FM signal (like a radio signal). An FM system allows a child to be within “earshot” (about six inches away) from the speaker’s voice at all times.