Hearing check in newborns

Why check newborns?

Checking for hearing loss in newborns is very important. When newborns have hearing loss and the diagnosis is made early, effective intervention can help them develop a normal or nearly normal speech, language and a landmark hearing.

  • Almost 3 to 6 in 1000 newborns have significant hearing impairment.
  • More than 95% of newborns that are born deaf have parents with normal hearing.
  • Hearing loss is invisible: it cannot be viewed by someone just by checking the ears of the newborn.
  • Most newborns with hearing loss have no symptoms.

Spoken language and listening skills

A baby with normal hearing should be able to do the following:

Near the age of 2 months

To be startled by loud sounds

To calm down with familiar voices

To make exclamations like “oh”

Near the age of 4 months

To look for the sources that produce sounds

To begin to “chatter”

To begin to scream and chuckle

Near the age of 6 months

To turn its head to loud sounds

To begin to imitate the sounds of speech

To say words like “da-da”

Near the age of 9 months

To imitate the sounds of speech of others

To understand no and hello

To turn the head towards soft sounds

Near the age of 1 year

To properly use the words Mom or Dad

To give its toys when asked

What should I know about the hearing check?

  • The hearing checks are fast, safe and do not hurt
  • Sometimes newborns are checked once or twice
  • The hearing check lasts about 10 minutes
  • Most babies sleep during the control
  • You will get the test results before leaving the hospital

If my newborn baby does not pass the hearing check?

Some babies that need a repeated check or a hearing examination have some hearing loss.

If your newborn does not pass the hearing check, it is important to book an appointment with an audiologist for a comprehensive hearing check.

If my newborn passes the hearing check?

Newborns that have passed their hearing check are usually fine. However, some babies can hear well enough to pass a hearing check while their hearing may not be entirely normal. Some newborns may pass the hearing check, but then lose their hearing due to illness, a medication or due to genetic causes – after leaving the hospital. Therefore, even if your newborn baby passes the hearing check, inform your audiologist or your pediatrician if you suspect a hearing loss at any time.

Other warning signs of hearing loss

Your newborn may be at risk for delayed onset of hearing loss if any of the following happens to it.

  • You or someone who cares for the baby has concerns
  • If there is a family history of childhood hearing loss
  • Neonatal intensive care is to treat ECMO
  • Chemotherapy
  • Some contamination occurred before or after birth (including CMV, bacterial and viral meningitis)
  • Some disorders that affect the nervous system of the baby

If any of these applies to your baby, book an appointment with your pediatrician or a child-audiologist (ENT) to make the necessary diagnostic tests.

All newborns should be checked for any loss of hearing.

Make sure your newborn’s hearing has been tested before leaving the hospital.