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Another PSA: Newborn Hearing Screening

It’s been a busy morning and I’m preparing for an interview this afternoon. So here’s a short PSA about newborn hearing screenings.

Many hospitals offer a free newborn hearing screening service. Take advantage of it. If your hospital doesn’t or you deliver at home, find a way to get your baby’s hearing checked. Our audiology clinic does it for free.

Why? Because a hearing screening can play a crucial role in making sure your baby develops on time, etc.

Most babies can hear fine. If so, then you’ve got reassurance (of course, hearing loss can happen at any time, but it’s a good start).

Some babies have congenital hearing loss–partial or full. The thing is that this isn’t some kind of hopeless case anymore. There are technologies–hearing aids, surgeries–or deaf child programs that can help your baby get on a good developmental track.

Periodically our clinic gets very sad cases–like twins who are 5 and badly hearing impaired. One is deaf and the other hard of hearing. Their mother is in complete denial. They can’t talk. They’re way behind developmentally because they can’t communicate (except they’ve apparently worked out a way to talk to each other…kind of cool). Neither has ever had their hearing tested.

Maybe hearing aids could have helped. Or cochlear implants. Or simply learning sign language as babies so they can communicate and meet other developmental benchmarks. As it is, these kids are going to have a rough time.

I recently published two pieces on Associated Content concerning hearing screening. The first one explains why you should get your baby’s hearing checked (similar to this). The second concerns when your baby failed the initial hearing screening.

(fair disclosure–AC pays me $1.50 per 1000 visits to my articles. So if you don’t like me, don’t click. And if you do…consider stumbling? 😉 )


plonkee December 20, 2007 at 4:44 pm

The most important thing is ensuring that your child learns to communicate well at the right stage in life – deafness needn’t prevent that if you don’t let it. And after all Deaf people consider themselves to form a separate and vibrant subculture, rejecting the medical model of deafness as a disability altogether.

mrsmicah December 20, 2007 at 4:54 pm

“The most important thing is ensuring that your child learns to communicate well at the right stage in life”

So true! We have a vibrant Deaf community here in DC. There’s a good elementary school (I think it goes higher, but I’m not sure) and America’s only really Deaf college. So we encourage parents when their kids fail the test (they’re going to have to get additional tests to figure out that the problem is) that this doesn’t have to be a crisis or a tragedy, but that it’s just important we know so we provide the right kind of treatment or education.

Of course, I haven’t had a mom cry yet. I hear that’s the hardest…

RacerX December 20, 2007 at 5:58 pm

Mrs M – My daughter had hearing issues as a toddler due to a series of ear infections. Our horrible doctor at the time didn’t catach and we kept insisting until they did a full test and found the issue.

Well after a couple years of speach class she speaks very well. This is all due to catching it asap.

Wooly Woman December 20, 2007 at 7:00 pm

I had no idea they could screen so young, but I had heard of babies who were slower to develop because of hearing loss. Read one of the articles too, thanks, I will keep this in mind to ask when our baby is born.

Becky December 21, 2007 at 1:32 pm

I agree with Wooly Woman, I had no idea you could test so young. This is good to know for when my husband and I start our family!

mrsmicah December 21, 2007 at 1:48 pm

The nice thing about the OAE (otoacoustic emissions) test is that it only measures the ear’s response and we don’t have to interact with the baby. Obviously, they’re too little to have them raise their right hand or whatever. 🙂

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