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3 Common Myths About Newborn Hearing Screenings For New Parents

If you are currently expecting your first child, you might have heard from fellow parents or your doctor that your newborn is going to need to have a hearing screening while they are in the hospital. Here are the three most common myths new parents believe about newborn hearing screenings, and the truth behind them.

Myth #1: Not All Babies Undergo Newborn Hearing Screenings

Many first-time parents wrongly assume that a newborn screening is some special test that only their baby has to take. Or, they believe that the only reason their doctor suggested a newborn hearing screening is because their doctor thinks something is wrong with their baby

Neither of these are the case. Newborn screening hearings have become a common procedure that all babies born in hospitals have to undergo. It is just a precautionary step all hospitals take to ensure that any hearing issues are caught and addressed as soon as possible since hearing loss can impact your child's development. 

Myth #2: There Is Only One Type Of Hearing Screening Used For Newborns

There are two types of hearing tests most hospitals commonly use to test a newborn's hearing.

  • Automated Auditory Brainstem Response: The first test is the Automated Auditory Brainstem Response or AABR. For this test, soft sensors are placed on your baby's head. These sensors are used to measure your child's reaction to the soft clicking sounds that they are exposed to during the test.
  • Otoacoustic Emission Test: The second test is the Otoacoustic Emission Test or OAE. This test involves placing a small microphone inside of your infant's ear. The microphone serves two purposes. First, it sends out a very faint clicking sound. Then, it measures how your baby's ear reacts to the sound.

Myth #3: If Your Baby Fails The Screening, It Means They Will Have Hearing Problems

It can be common to get an inconclusive result from one of the tests above. If your baby is fussy, upset, or moves around, it could compromise the integrity of the test results.

If your baby fails or has inconclusive results during their newborn screening, the hospital may use the other newborn screening option on your baby to get accurate results since so many factors can compromise the integrity of the test. Your baby may easily pass the second test when they are more calm.

If your baby fails both newborn screening tests, the hospital will check to see if an issue that can be easily fixed, such as fluid or wax buildup, is impeding your child's hearing. After addressing any issues that arise, the hospital will schedule a follow-up screening in a few months. Many infants pass their follow-up screenings and don't go on to have hearing issues. If your baby does not pass their follow up screening, you will be referred to an audiologist who will help you manage your child's hearing issues. 

Don't worry when your doctor mentions that your baby needs to have a newborn screening test. This is a routine procedure that all babies born in hospitals undergo to ensure that any hearing issues are dealt with in a timely manner. If you have any more questions about your baby's newborn screening, be sure to follow-up with your doctor. To find out more, speak with someone like Pediatric And Young Adult Medicine.