Urban Sky Trust

Screening Your Baby's Hearing

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Did you Know?
Your babies hearing can be tested as early as a day after birth and this test is more accurate than ever. Your baby can sleep during the test.

Why have the test done so early and why in hospital?
Up to 4 out of 1000 babies with no known risk factors are born with a hearing loss. The incidence increases 4-6% when risk factors are present. A hearing problem is an invisible problem that can go unnoticed for years. 90% of deaf babies are born into families with no history of deafness. The average identification of hearing loss is 2 years 4 months and in some cases could be as late as 6 years. The later a hearing loss is identified, the weaker the prospects of adequate communication in a hearing world. The first 3 years are critical for a child to acquire speech and language. The effects of even a mild hearing loss on speech and language development in the first 2 years of life can result in significant speech, language and learning delays.

THE GOAL of  SCREENING is to identify babies who have even a mild hearing loss as early as possible. Appropriate follow up and treatment can then be provided before the age of 6 months.

How is the test performed?
A baby's hearing is tested by means of a test known as the Oto-Acoustic-Emmission tes. The tes is quick and non-invasive and works on the principle that a healthy cochlea in the inner part of the ear willproduce a faint echo when stimulated with sound. A small rubber probe is placed in the baby's ear and soft click sounds are presented at different tones. If the cochlea is functioning properly, the probe will again detect the echo. A result of PASS or REFER is obtained.

PASS: the hearing is within the acceptable limits and re-assessment of hearing is recommended at 12 months.
REFER: the baby will require a second hearing assessment within 206 weeks.

Reasons for refer:
Birth fluid in the canal
Ear canal does not allow effective probe fitting in the ear
Baby was unsettled during the test
Temporary hearing loss
Permanent sensorineural hearing loss

Advantage of the test:
The test is quick and results are obtained immediately
Can be conducted while baby is asleep
Does not hurt the baby
Results are accurate
Can also detect a mild hearing loss or hearing loss in one ear
Can be performed in hospital before discharge

When is the test NOT recommended?
When the baby is been discharged before 24Hrs after birth as fluid in the birth canal could result in a false answer or when the baby is crying or unsettled.

Who performs the tests?
An audiologist or a trained hearing screening assistant under the supervision of an audiologist is qualified to perform the test. Further tests will be done by an audiologist.

What about cost?
The cost of the test can be claimed from most medical aids. Information regarding costs can be obtained in the hospital from the dmission or nursery staff.

In conclusion:
Early detection of infants with permanent hearing loss throigh infant hearing screening is recognised and routinely offerred as a vital component of early childhood care and the importance of hearing cannot be over emphasized. Do NOT ASSUME your baby can hear everything.

Have your baby's hearing screened today and create equal opportunities for your child to develop to their full potential.

Information received from:
Rene Verson Audiologists
229 Cape Road, Greenacres, Port Elizabeth, 6045
Tel: +27 (41) 373 0340