Babies and ChildrenNewborn hearing test: what it consists of, how and when it is...

Newborn hearing test: what it consists of, how and when it is done

The hearing test in newborns is a fundamental test, which helps to find out if the baby has some type of deafness or hearing loss (hearing loss). Find out everything you need to know about her.

As soon as babies are born they are subjected to rigorous supervision by the specialists who have helped them to come into the world.

The hours in which both the mother and the baby are in the clinic will be essential to check that the baby maintains all its physical and behavioral faculties correctly and can go home without any problem.

During the stay in the maternity clinic, you will be weighed, measured, your motor reflexes checked and that your small body responds correctly to stimuli as well as that it feeds and defecates properly.

The days after birth are essential, since parents must attend and take care of their baby at home and whatever they notice and is of importance go to the doctor to verify a possible problem or false alarm.

The ear test is ideal to determine the quality of hearing in babies under 4 weeks, this test is painless and consists of two processes or tests that will assess the hearing capacity of the little one.

What is the ear test?

The two tests that we have named above are the Autoacoustic Emissions and the Auditory Response of the Brainstem, both tests can be used together or separately, normally the Autoacoustic Emissions (OAEs) are used first and if in negative case the test is will examine the ABR.

Hearing loss has congenital causes and affects one in every 1,000 babies, although in most cases it does not have specific causes, there are a number of factors that can cause it:

  • Premature infants.
  • Children who need intensive care.
  • Family history of hearing loss.
  • Very high concentration of bilirubin and undergoing a transfusion.
  • Received medications.
  • Problems during childbirth.

Precisely for this reason, it is important that babies during their first weeks of life undergo a hearing test that will determine the baby’s hearing capacity and if there is any deficiency in the ears.

After birth and during the following hours, it will be the doctors such as the pediatrician, the nurses and the obstetrician who carefully check the general condition of the baby, its reflexes, its weight and height, its breathing, the heart, the color of its skin and its muscular tone.

When the time in the hospital is over, the parents will be in charge of taking care of their baby and being alert to any possible complication or detection of a problem that may exist.

When is the baby ear test done?

Normally before leaving the hospital the it recommends performing a hearing test on the baby to verify that the little one hears perfectly.

During the following weeks it is recommended that the baby be subjected to the hearing test, since 1 and 2 of every 1,000 children are born with hearing problems and can be detected after birth and thus try to reduce their problem.

The specialists will be in charge of correctly detecting if the baby hears enough, because if any hearing reduction is detected during the first 6 months there are more possibilities that the baby will develop good possibilities of speaking and learning properly.

The hearing test consists of two processes as we have indicated previously:

  • Autoacoustic Emissions are responsible for detecting whether the different parts of the inner ear hear correctly and respond to sound from outside. A hearing aid will be placed in the ear canal and a sound will be emitted that will cause an echo, if the child does not react, it is most likely that there is a hearing impairment.
  • The Auditory Stem Response Test will assess how the auditory nerve responds to sounds. Hearing aids are placed in the baby’s ear and a series of rings will be emitted thanks to electrodes placed on the head.

Thanks to hearing tests, babies will be able to solve some of their hearing problems as long as the detection of their hearing impairment or reduction is carried out within the first 6 months of age.

How is the test done?

In the first test, a tiny probe is placed inside the visible auditory canal (outer ear), and a sound will be emitted, before which the snail or cochlea (inner ear) will generate a series of noises that will be recorded on a monitor.

If these noises are not detected there may be deafness, although we must bear in mind that this test has a reliability of 80%, hence a second test is carried out later.

What is the ear test for?

As we indicated previously, it is essential to diagnose in time some type of deafness or hearing loss that may be present in the baby, which must be treated and hearing restored before two years either with the help of surgery, a hearing aid or a cochlear implant.

Why is treatment so important? Mainly because through the ear the child develops speech, so that any hearing disorder involves a delay in both language and communication.

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