Common Questions About The Hearing Screen

IS THE HEARING SCREEN NECESSARY?

  • Yes, Newborn Hearing screening is state mandated and identifies potential hearing loss beginning at birth.

WHY SHOULD MY BABY BE SCREENED IN THE HOSPITAL?

  • The ability to hear is the foundation of your baby’s ability to learn, so it’s important to identify any problems just as soon as possible. Newborn hearing screening can detect possible hearing loss in the first days of your baby’s life. If a possible hearing loss is found, further tests will be done to confirm the results.

HOW WILL MY BABY’S SCREENING BE DONE?

  • The screen takes 15 minutes or less.
  • It is completely painless and safe for your baby.
  • The screen is done in the patient room, the nursery, or a quiet room.
  • It is usually done while your baby is asleep.
  • If your baby passes, no further screening is necessary.

IS THE HEARING SCREEN SAFE?

  • The hearing screen is painless and safe for your baby. Three patches are placed on the baby’s forehead and behind the ears. Small earphones are placed in your baby’s ears that transmit soft sounds into each ear. The computer measures the hearing nerves’ pathways to those sounds.

WHAT IS A HEARING SCREEN VS. A DIAGNOSTIC TEST?

  • A hearing screen determines whether your baby will need further testing for hearing loss. Diagnostic testing can establish whether there is hearing loss, how much hearing loss is present, and whether it is correctable.

WHAT EQUIPMENT IS USED FOR THE SCREEN?

  • Sheridan uses the Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR) screen. AABR is recommended by national regulatory agencies for providing hearing screens to NICU babies.
  • For AABR, small sensors are placed on your baby's forehead and behind the ears. Small earphones are placed in your baby's ears, and your baby will hear soft sounds in each ear at a low volume.
  • When hearing these sounds, your baby’s brain responses are measured by a computer, which interprets how your baby hears the sounds.

WHY DO SOME BABIES NOT PASS THE HEARING TEST?

  • Fluid in the middle ear.
  • Debris like vernix or other fluids from birth in the ear canal.
  • The room may be too noisy.
  • The baby is restless (moving or crying) during the screen.
  • Possible hearing loss.

WHY DIDN’T MY BABY PASS THE HEARING SCREEN?

  • Infants can “refer” for many reasons and it does not necessarily mean that your baby has a hearing impairment. A “referred” screen means there is a need for further evaluation.

WHAT DOES A “FAMILY HISTORY” OF HEARING LOSS MEAN?

  • Family history refers to any person in your immediate or extended family that was born with hearing loss or developed hearing loss at a young age.

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

  • You may be responsible for part of the cost depending on your insurance coverage. If you have any billing questions, please call our billing office (800) 224-0859