The Importance of Newborn Hearing Screenings

Hearing loss is the most frequently occurring birth defect, and more than 90 percent of babies with hearing loss are born to parents with typical hearing. For many families, the idea of their child having hearing loss is one that they have never given much thought.

This can lead to parents having a passive attitude in regards to a newborn hearing screening. But because any delay in the diagnosis of hearing loss can have a lifelong negative impact on a child’s development, it is critical for your child to receive timely hearing health services shortly after birth.

Why Does My Child Need a Newborn Hearing Screening?

Children diagnosed with hearing loss can live healthy, fulfilling lives, and early intervention is a critical component. Informed parents who receive a firm diagnosis can begin taking advantage of the many resources available to them as far as amplification (hearing aids, cochlear implants, etc.) and communication paths. Children with hearing loss can develop listening and spoken language skills, but there is a critical window for language acquisition, meaning time is of the essence.

Intervention services can help mitigate the negative effects that hearing loss can have on your child’s speech and language development, academic achievement, and social and emotional development.

What Happens at a Newborn Hearing Screening?

The auditory brainstem response (ABR) exam is the most common way to test hearing for children under 6 months of age. Your child must be asleep for approximately 15 minutes to complete this test, so it is best to try and keep them awake for a while prior to arriving at the appointment. While your child sleeps, their brain’s response to different sounds is measured via electrodes to make sure that the auditory pathway is working the way that it should. The entire ABR appointment takes up to one hour and is completely painless for your baby.

How is CCHAT Serving the Community?

Since 2018, CCHAT’s Newborn Hearing Diagnostic Program (NHDP) has provided comprehensive hearing health services to families of children born in the greater Sacramento region. CCHAT does this in two ways – one, by providing hearing testing to children born in hospitals or birthing centers without mandatory screening programs, and two, by conducting critical rescreening testing for children who fail their initial hearing test.

Dr. Katie Isbell, CCHAT’s on-site audiologist, leads the NHDP, which continues to gain traction throughout the community. Dr. Isbell’s goal is to make each child and family feel comfortable. She will explain each procedure she performs to the family and happily answer any questions that may arise during testing. Katie remains engaged with each child she serves and makes herself available for follow-up questions from the family. Her wealth of knowledge and experience in the audiological field ensures that each child will receive the best care and treatment possible.

CCHAT Can Help You

Providing you and your child with the best hearing health services is our top priority, and a newborn hearing screening should be high on your checklist following the birth of your baby. CCHAT aims to make these critical exams accessible to everyone. The team from CCHAT is available to answer any questions you may have regarding this vital test. Use our CONTACT page or call 916-361-7290 for more information.

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