Little Rock Audiologists Discuss Child Hearing Screening

Is getting my child’s hearing tested important? Approximately two to four of every 1,000 children in the United States are born deaf or hard-of-hearing, making hearing loss the most common birth disorder. Studies show that early diagnosis of hearing loss is crucial to the development of speech, language, cognitive, and psychosocial abilities. Our Audiologists in Little Rock say treatment is most successful if hearing loss is identified early, preferably within the first few months of life. Still, one in every four children born with serious hearing loss does not receive a diagnosis until 14 months old.

When Should I Get My Child’s Hearing Tested? The first opportunity to test a child’s hearing is in the hospital shortly after birth. If your child’s hearing is not screened before leaving the hospital, it is recommended that screening be done within the first month of life at a hearing facility like Arkansas Otolaryngology Center. If test results indicate a possible hearing loss, get a further evaluation as soon as possible, preferably within the first three to six months of life.

Is it mandatory to get early hearing screenings for my child? In recent years, health organizations across the country, including the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, have worked to highlight the importance of screening all newborns for hearing loss. These efforts are working. Recently, many states have passed Early Hearing Detection and Intervention legislation. A few other states regularly screen the hearing of most newborns but have no legislation that requires screening. So, check with your local authority or hospital for screening regulations.

What hearing tests are used for my child? Two tests are used to screen infants and newborns for hearing loss. They are otoacoustic emissions (OAE), and auditory brain stem response (ABR). Otoacoustic emissions involve placing a sponge earphone in the ear canal to measure whether the ear can respond properly to sound. In normal-hearing children, a measurable “echo” should be produced when sound is emitted through the earphone. If no echo is measured, it could indicate a hearing loss.

Auditory brain stem response is a more complex test. Earphones are placed on the ears and electrodes are placed on the head and ears. Sound is emitted through the earphones while the electrodes measure how your child’s brain responds to the sound.

If either test indicates a potential hearing loss, your physician may suggest a follow-up evaluation by an otolaryngologist. Arkansas Otolaryngology Center has a team of otolaryngologists and audiologists who work side-by-side to help you and your family get the care they need. Schedule an appointment with AOC today!