Idaho CareLine: Dial 2-1-1 or 800-926-2588
Newborn Hearing Screening
Every week in Idaho, one baby is born with a significant hearing loss that will not be detected before six months of age. For more information on local assistance regarding costs, contacts, or materials, contact:
Delays in diagnosis most often occur because hearing impairment in infants can easily be confused with other developmental problems. When hearing problems are suspected in newborns, many professionals still rely primarily on assessments of behavior, rather than on objective, physiological methods. But these assessments can be misleading, and often delay a definitive diagnosis.
The Families and Work Institute's 1997 publication "Rethinking the Brain," notes that "new insights into the brain's early development and functioning have allowed some researchers to address neurological impairments with greater precision. Case in point: with the aid of brain imaging studies, researchers have been able to study and detect auditory processing problems in babies six to nine months old before language impairment becomes evident. Once a problem has been pinpointed, specific, individualized interventions can be introduced at a time when the brain's plasticity is particularly marked."
In February 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement endorsing the implementation of universal newborn hearing screening entitled Newborn and Infant Hearing Loss: Detection and Intervention (Pediatrics Vol. 103, No. 2, pp. 527-530). The statement reviews the primary objectives, important components, and recommended screening parameters that characterize an effective universal newborn hearing screening program.
A study published in the February 1998 issue of Pediatrics (Vol. 101, No. 2, pp. 221-228), scientific journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), also addressed the importance of early screening and intervention. The study indicated infants who have hearing loss identified in the nursery and use a hearing aid before six months of age will have optimal speech and language development.
According to the study, the average age for identification of hearing loss in the United States is 20-24 months, with mild and moderate hearing losses most often identified after four years of age. The study concludes that screening newborns for hearing problems can help those identified as hearing impaired achieve normal speech and language development. (Click here to order the scientific report "Universal Infant Hearing Screening by Automated Auditory Brainstem Response Measurement.")
The Idaho Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing's goal is to improve the quality of life for Idahoans who are deaf or hard of hearing by providing information and by serving as an advocate for increased services and better access to services.
Your Baby's Hearing Checklist, provided courtesy of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).
The National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management has numerous links to additional resources for parents and professionals.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders' article entitled Otitis Media Fact Sheet, provides basic information on hearing, ear infections, treatment, and additional research information and resources.
Information pertaining to Hearing: http://topics-az.parenthood.com/subcategory/Hearing.html.