By Dr. Emily Martinson, Au.D., Ph.D.
There is very little in life more stressful than being a new mom or dad. From setting up the baby’s room to late night feedings and diaper changes, the learning curve for parenthood is steep! Did you know that every baby born has his or her hearing screened in the hospital? Babies can have their hearing tested almost immediately after birth. Most of us think of hearing testing as the typical “raise your hand when you hear the beep,” but of course that does not work with a newborn.
Hearing is tested for newborns using a method called Auditory Brainstem Response (stay tuned- more on that in another post!). This testing does not require any response from the baby, and is completely automatic. Just like with adults, the sooner a hearing loss is treated in a newborn, the better the outcome. Hearing aids or cochlear implants can be fitted on children at younger and younger ages, eliminating many of the struggles associated with hearing loss in children. Make sure to check with your pediatrician or audiologist if you suspect that your infant may have a hearing loss.