One of the biggest misconceptions about hearing loss is that it primarily impacts the elderly. In fact, a surprisingly high number of children under 18 have some degree of hearing loss due to a variety of environmental and congenital factors. If you’ve recently had a child, it’s important that they have a hearing evaluation so that accommodations can be made if they are hard of hearing. Today, we will go over why infant hearing evaluations matter and how they are performed.
Why Should I Care About Infant Hearing Evaluations?
We’ve already gone over the misconceptions that young people are immune from hearing loss. In fact, hearing loss is more common among young people—teenagers in particular—than ever before. Experts believe this is primarily due to environmental factors, such as the increased prevalence of headphones.
Hearing loss in infants, on the other hand, typically results from genetics. Infant hearing evaluations are important because they can detect if your child is hard of hearing early on. Failure to do so could lead to a significant delay in speech or language development that could have been avoided. Later on, they may face social and academic problems as a result of their undiagnosed hearing loss.
To give your child the support that they need, early intervention is key. That’s where infant hearing evaluations come in.
Two Kinds of Evaluations for Newborns
You might be wondering: how can audiologists test whether or not an infant has compromised hearing ability? When performing hearing evaluations on adults or verbal children, the participant will typically be asked to raise their hand or press a button when they hear a noise, or to repeat phrases back. You couldn’t expect a newborn or nonverbal child to participate in this sort of test.
Here are two ways audiologists get around this:
- Otoacoustic Emissions. For this form of infant hearing evaluations, an audiologist will place a very small probe in the infant’s ear canal. It is minimally invasive and completely painless. The probe will produce soft tones or clicks and record the sounds given back by your child’s inner ear in response.
- Automated Auditory Brainstem Response. The wonders of modern science make it possible for us to observe how the brain reacts to sound. This is especially useful for carrying out newborn hearing evaluations. If we evaluate your child’s hearing in this way, we will place a few electrodes on their head and record how their brain responds to sounds coming from their headphones.
As many as 3 out of every 1,000 babies in the United States are born with compromised hearing abilities. This may seem like a small percentage, but it is considerable. It can be disheartening to learn that your newborn’s hearing ability falls outside of the normal range. But we are more equipped than ever to provide your child with the resources they need to succeed.
And remember: the key to your child’s success is early intervention. Contact us and schedule a hearing evaluation today.
Contact Bay Area Audiology Today for Infant Hearing Evaluations
Ready to do something about your hearing loss? Our Doctor of Audiology, Dr. Trisha A. Bents Muth, is exceptionally experienced in the art of audiology, and provides the absolute best solutions. Bay Area Audiology has been working to give patients a comfortable environment with thorough evaluations. We are independently owned, and unbiased when it comes to finding you the care you need.
You can always come into the office or contact us in advance to set up an appointment. We also provide updates on our social media websites. You can check out our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to keep up with Bay Area Audiology.
Don’t hesitate–we can help.