Melissa Magstadt, South Dakota Secretary of Health

3 - Before THREE Months of Age: Hearing Evaluation

Infant hearing evaluation

Audiological Evaluation: An audiologist determines if a baby has a definite hearing loss. These health care professionals have the background and the appropriate equipment to detect a permanent hearing loss.

Audiology Clinics in South Dakota

Newborn Hearing Loss Risk Factors and Causes

  • Baby sleepingGenetic - 50% of all infant hearing loss cases may be attributed to genetics
    • Family history of permanent childhood hearing loss
    • Syndrome commonly associated with hearing loss (account for 1/3 of genetic cases)

  • Environmental
    • Admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
    • Contact with certain infections while the mother is pregnant -
      • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) - a virus from the same family as herpes. There is no immunization against CMV. It is spread in the air and in droplet form. To prevent exposure, pregnant women should avoid sharing food, utensils, and cups with a child, and wash hands after changing diapers, to reduce contact with saliva and urine from babies and young children.
      • Toxoplasmosis - an infection found in people, cats, birds, and other animals. Most people with toxoplasmosis have no symptoms. To prevent exposure, pregnant women should avoid cat litter or dirt and should not eat uncooked meat.
      • Group B Strep (GBS)
      • Syphilis
      • Rubella (German Measles)
      • Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)
  • Physiological
    • Extreme jaundice
    • Contact with certain types of medications
  • Physical
    • Low birth weight
    • Head, face, and ear irregularities

Delayed-onset hearing loss is when a child passes their newborn hearing screening as an infant but develops hearing loss by the age of 3. Delayed-onset hearing loss can happen at any time to a child who was born with a risk factor like those listed above.


Above are links to agencies, organizations, and other websites that provide information, services, and resources of interest to the deaf and hard of hearing and to their families. The South Dakota Department of Health exercises no control over the content of these sites and provides the links for informational purposes only. This information is not a substitute for medical care.

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