Newborn Hearing Screening
Newborn hearing screening is a simple procedure to check a newborn’s hearing abilities.
Is hearing loss common?
Studies show that hearing loss is the most common birth defect in most countries, with 1 to 3 cases in every 1000 live births. In India, the number is even higher.
Why is hearing screening important?
Universal hearing screening of all newborn babies within the first three months is important to detect hearing loss at the earliest. Intervention at or before 6 months of age allows a child with impaired hearing to develop normal speech and language, alongside his or her hearing peers if not treated in time, hearing loss causes:
- Impaired speech development
- Sub-optimal communication development
Which is better – universal hearing screening of all neonates or targeted hearing screening of only high risk neonates?
Studies show that hearing testing conducted only on infants who met the criteria of the high-risk register (HRR) was not enough, given that as many as 50% of infants born with hearing loss have no known risk factors. So, universal hearing screening is advisable.
What are the types of hearing Screening tests?
There are two kinds of hearing screening tests for newborns –
- Oto Acoustic Emissions (OAE): In a quiet environment, a probe is placed in the child’s ear canal which emits stimuli. If the outer hair cells react to the stimuli, the ear function is considered to be normal. OAE is good for its simplicity and portability, but if the test results are abnormal then advanced tests are needed to quantify and identify the hearing deficit.
- Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR): In the AABR test, a click stimulus at 35 dBHL is delivered to the child’s ear via disposable earphones. Either a ‘pass’ or a ‘refer’ response determines the result. In the follow up testing a Diagnostic Auditory Brainstem Response is used to identify and quantify the nature of hearing loss.
What are the types of intervention in an infant with hearing loss?
Upon confirming hearing impairment, if intervention is started within the first year of life, a remarkable difference to the ability to hear and speak can be made. Some of the intervention processes used are:
- Hearing aid, an amplification device that helps with hearing.
- Cochlear implants that are surgically put in to stimulate the inner ear (cochlea) with the help of electrical signals.
- Speech and language therapy to help the child with effective communication.
Hearing impairment can have detrimental effects on a child’s development. But luckily these days early screening, detection of hearing loss and intervention is possible, which in turn can help hearing impaired children with effective hearing and communication skills.
About The Hospital
Ankura is a chain of Children’s Hospital in Hyderabad. Set up in the year 2011 in KPHB, near Hitech Railway Station, the Ankura Hospitals family has today spread its wings to Secunderabad, Khammam and Vijayawada.