Essential Hearing Tests for Newborn Babies


The first few years of a baby's development are crucial, meaning that you must pay close attention to their hearing health. If you notice any communication difficulties related to hearing problems, such as speech disorders or hearing problems, you need to book an appointment with a pediatric audiologist. The expert will conduct hearing and screening tests to confirm or alleviate your concerns. Notably, pediatric audiologists perform different tests on babies to determine the extent of a problem and start treatment or management early. This article highlights basic hearing tests that newborns can undergo.

Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions (EOAE)

The first hearing test a pediatric audiologist performs on a baby is the evoked otoacoustic emissions. The test involves the insertion of a flexible plug with a built-in microphone into a baby's ears. An audiologist then sends sounds through the plug, and a built-in microphone records otoacoustic responses from each ear. If the microphone does not record any reactions from the ears, it might indicate hearing loss. However, a professional audiologist does not make such a conclusion without performing further tests. These hearing tests are painless and usually performed when a baby is asleep.

Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)

This is another hearing test conducted on newborns, and it involves the attachment of electrodes to a baby's scalp. An audiologist then inserts tiny earphones in a baby's ear and plays clicking sounds. The specialist then monitors a baby's brain activity in response to the clicks throughout the test. If the test machine does not record any brain activity, the chances are high that a baby might have hearing loss. On the other hand, partial brain activity indicates partial hearing loss, which can be reversed as long as treatment begins immediately. Just like EOAE, the ABR hearing test is painless and performed while a baby is sleeping.

Behavioural Audiometry

Audiologists perform this hearing test on the premise that a newborn is supposed to react in a certain way in response to sound. Audiologists understand that an infant responds differently from a toddler to certain sounds. A behavioural audiometry hearing test records responses against standard reactions. For instance, an infant smiles or coos in response to its mother's voice. Additionally, a baby should startle at loud sounds if their hearing is fine. However, if an infant's reaction to any of the sounds is indifferent, an audiologist will recommend further testing, such as the ABR or EOAE assessments. It is the most basic and straightforward hearing test, which audiologists perform on newborns.


11 June 2021

Edward's ENT Blog

Hello! My name is Edward and this is my ENT blog. ENT stands for Ear, Nose and Throat. When I developed a problem with my throat, I went to my doctor. My GP referred me to the local ENT department so I could see a specialist. I was really worried when I went into the hospital, however, I soon felt much better once I had met with the specialist. The ENT doctor performed a number of tests. He also explained to me the various possible causes of my medical complaint. Once my ENT doctor received the results, he treated the condition.