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How are hearing screenings done?

There are two ways to screen a baby's hearing. From the baby's point of view, they are both very simple. Most babies will sleep through the whole process.

Automated Otoacoustic emissions (OAE)

This test shows whether parts of the ear respond properly to sound.

How it works:

  1. A small earphone is placed in the baby's ear.
  2. Soft sounds are played through the earphone.
  3. The ear's response is measured and recorded.

Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)

This test checks how the brain responds to sound.

  1. A small earphone is placed in the baby's ear.
  2. Three small sticky electrodes are placed on the forehead and behind the ears.
  3. Soft sounds are played through the earphone.
  4. The brain's response is measured and recorded.

What happens if the hearing screening shows a problem

If the results of your baby's hearing screening shows there may be a problem, you will be referred to an audiologist. This person is an expert in testing babies' hearing. If the audiologist finds that your baby does have a hearing problem, you'll be directed to the services and supports that can help you and your child.

Watch your child for signs of hearing loss

Hearing loss can cause delays in speech and language development. It's never too early to help your child learn language.