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Hearing Loss in Newborns- Part II

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 10:44:07 AM Australia/Melbourne

We’ve talked about the causes, and the upswing in testing to ensure that newborns are properly cared for when it comes to their ears. But what are the symptoms? And how do we treat an audience whose growth is in a very precarious and changing place? To sum it up in one word, carefully.


Hearing Loss in Newborns- Part II

One of the largest gaps in testing for newborns, is that their cognitive and speech skills are not as fully developed as older age groups. They won’t be able to tell you that they can’t hear you. You have to look for the signs. Here are a few to keep in mind:


  • A newborn may not cry at the sound of a loud noise nearby, but the vibrations may startle him or her.
  • If you’re dealing with an older infant, who may or may not respond to voices that sound familiar, they may show no reaction whatsoever to communication.
  • A general barometer is that children should begin using single words by the time that they’re 15-months old. They should be using more simple 2-word sentences by the time that they’re aged two. If they are not reaching these milestones in a timely manner, there may be a hearing loss issue at hand. As you may have read in previous Hearlink blog posts, many children are not testing for hearing loss until they arrive at school. This is a very important time in a child’s life and if they’re not tested as soon as possible, they can fall significantly behind in their development.


See any of these signs? Better safe than sorry to have your child checked. A health care provider will examine your child for bone issues and/or genetic changes that can equate to hearing loss. There are a couple of different tests. They include:


  • ABR (Auditory brain stem response) tests: The ABR tests use electrodes, or patches to determine how your auditory nerves react to different sounds.
  • OAE (Optoacoustic emissions) tests: The OAE tests use a microphone. The microphone is placed gently into the baby’s ears, and helps to determine if there are nearby sounds. If no echo is heard, it’s an indicator of hearing loss for the child being examined.


There are many reasons why these tests are so effective. One is that the activities are seen as play to the children being examined. They can determine the child’s range of hearing comprehensively in a safe and comfortable environment.


If hearing loss is identified, there are a number of treatment options depending on where you live. These include speech therapy, cochlear implants (the most serious sensorineural hearing loss) and the learning of sign language. Treatment can also include medications, surgery and ear tubes, especially if there are repeated ear infections.


No matter what the prognosis is, your health care provider should be able to provide you a sliding scale of treatment options, based on degree of invasion, cost and time intensity. At Hearlink, we’re dedicated to being an advocate on your side. If you think that a family or friend could benefit from our services, a referral or answers to the questions that you have—don’t be afraid to reach out. We’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Industry News By

Hearlink Admin