Diagnostic Hearing Testing
Follow-Up hearing testing is Important!
Language development depends on listening
Because babies start learning almost immediately, it’s important to find out about hearing loss early. Knowing early can help to prevent delays in children’s language development. New Hampshire strives to test all babies referred on newborn hearing screening by three months of age. Because current research shows that earlier is better, it’s our goal to identify babies with hearing loss by age 3 months so that they will receive appropriate intervention by 6 months.
Testing is the only way to know
Children who refer on the newborn haring screening at the birth hospital need to have further testing completed. Hearing loss ranges from very mild to profound, exists in only 1 ear or both ears. A mild hearing loss is nearly impossible to observe or detect just by watching someone.
It’s hard to notice if a child may have a hearing loss just by watching them. For instance, a child with a mild hearing loss will still hear and respond to voices and/or noises in the environment. Infants with hearing loss in only one ear can still hear in the other, so they may appear to hear just fine. Even babies with significant hearing loss may look like they’re responding to noises, but instead they’re responding to what they see and what they feel through the vibrations.
So it can be tricky to tell if a child has a hearing loss just by watching them. A hearing test done by an expert, audiologist, is the best way to know if a child has a hearing loss. Not all children who are referred for follow-up hearing testing have a hearing loss. A hearing test is the only way to know whether or not a child has a hearing loss, so it’s important to have follow-up testing done.
Few children actually refer
Although many people believe that most children refer on the newborn hearing screening, that’s actually a myth. Only 1% of 14,000 children born each year in New Hampshire refer for follow-up testing. That’s less than 200 babies! This is well within the guidelines set by the Joint Commission for Early Hearing Detection and Intervention.