During the pre-natal visits, plan ahead with your doctor and discuss having a hearing screening done. It is important to know that a hearing screening will be done before the baby leaves the hospital. In South Dakota, all of the hospitals that do deliveries on a regular basis have hearing screening equipment. If there are any questions regarding the screening process that should also be discussed with the doctor or the hospital staff.
Your baby's hearing can be screened soon after birth and before leaving the hospital. The screening does not hurt and it takes only minutes to screen each ear and the results will be known immediately. Most babies sleep through the screening. The screening does not confirm a definite hearing loss -- rather it determines how the baby is hearing at that time and identifies those that will need further diagnostic evaluations.
If the baby does not pass the first hearing screening. It is important that the family follow-up with a second screening, called a re-screening. The re-screening should be done before the baby is one month of age. This will ensure that there is not a delay in any further evaluations that may be needed.
Have it Checked
Some babies have a hearing loss that is not present at birth. These babies develop a hearing loss as they grow. This change in hearing may result from a head trauma, certain illnesses, medications or genetic causes.
If your baby has one of these risk factors or if you have concerns about your baby's responses to sound or speech development, have it checked. Discuss these concerns with your doctor and schedule another hearing screening.
It is important to keep in mind that regardless of age, there are safe, effective and accurate screenings and evaluations that can determine hearing loss.