Your newborn baby should have his or her hearing screened at birth or within the first 4 weeks of life. If hearing loss is confirmed, there are options that might help your child, such as cochlear implants, that should be considered before he or she is six months old. If you child doesn’t receive a hearing screening and is, in fact, hearing impaired, he or she may not learn to speak, affecting social interactions and emotional security possibly for the rest of his or her life.

You may think that simply clapping your hands or making a sound near baby and checking for a reaction is enough to check for hearing, but it’s not. Prior to a special type of newborn hearing test called an objective hearing test, many children with hearing loss remained undiagnosed until two or more years of age.

An objective hearing test is performed using an OAE device. A small probe is placed in the child’s ear. A sound is emitted from the probe and measured by the machine, responding with a message of “pass” or “refer.” This type of screening is optimal because it doesn’t rely on a behavioral response from the child. As the name suggests, it’s objective, and a reliable way to diagnose hearing loss. The procedure is also completely painless.

If you suspect that your child may have a hearing problem, contact your pediatrician or OrlandoENT as soon as possible so that his or her hearing can be tested and steps taking if hearing loss has occurred.

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