The ability of hearing is one of the most important health aspects of a child’s early development. This is why hearing screening test is one of the priority tests in majority of hospitals. It is an easy and painless process that doesn’t harm your child in any way and only takes a few minutes. Out of 1000 live births, 2-4 babies are affected with hearing loss.
Unfortunately, most parents have a misconception that they can tell when their babies have a hearing loss. That is a serious mistake that has a high potential of affecting your child’s life. Unless you are an audiologist, you cannot tell the degree of hearing loss. Your baby could be having a mild, permanent or no hearing loss at all.
On an average, most children that skip the test may suffer from hearing loss at the age of 2-3 years. Mild hearing loss symptoms come at the age of 4 years or more. This is why you should take the test before living the hospital or within three weeks after birth. Don’t deny your lovely baby a chance to live to his or her full potential. Take the test.
How Is The Test Done?
The type of hearing screening test carried out could depend on the resources available, the number of births and the policies of a particular hospital. There are two major types of hearing screening tests.
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)
This technique measures the echoes produced in the inner ear using the testing equipment. It involves placing a soft miniature earphone into the ear canal and after that playing soft tones or clicks. If the baby has normal hearing, an echo reflection occurs and is measured. On the other hand, if the baby has a hearing loss, the OAE test won’t record any sound waves or echo reflections. This implies that the cochlea cannot respond to sound waves.
Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR)
This method monitors the response of the hearing nerve in determining whether a baby has a hearing loss or not. The audiologist puts soft earphones into the baby’s ears and also places electronic sensors on the neck or head. Clicking sounds are then played, and the hearing nerve response is recorded to determine mild or permanent hearing loss.
Both methods are quick, simple and painless. They do not hurt your baby in any way. It is okay to repeat the tests, especially in situations where the first response was unclear. If your baby has fluid in their ear canal, is disturbed during the test or there could be some noise around, there is a higher likelihood that the first test won’t be reliable. Do not, therefore, panic when the doctor repeats the test. It is aimed at clearing the doubt and doesn’t in any way imply that your child has a permanent hearing loss.
Why It Is Important To Take The Test
Taking a hearing screening test could make a whole difference in your child’s life if done at an early stage. It is one of the congenital anomalies that can result in severe psychological, educational and early childhood development repercussions. Thanks to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for their fruitful recommendation that requires hearing screening of all babies before leaving the hospital.
Several studies have shown that approximately 50% of the newborn diagnosed with hearing losses have no risk factors for the condition. That is why it is risky ignoring the screening. When hearing loss is detected at an early stage, you can enroll your baby to hearing aid, language and speech services to enable them to develop the necessary communication and learning skills. Research has shown that early intervention helps children develop normal speech and language. Making the right decision could be the reason your child makes the most out of his family relations, adulthood life, and education or misses it all. Think twice!