Universal Newborn and Infant Hearing Screening Program
Why should my baby's hearing be screened?
There is very little risk that your baby will have a hearing loss. We know that babies start learning speech and language well before they are six months old. Children need good hearing so they can learn how to talk. If a hearing loss is not found early enough, this may cause a delay in learning to talk, and your child may have trouble getting along with others. We screen every baby born in the province so we can find those who cannot hear well early. Then we can help them.
How will my baby's hearing be screened?
Trained staff will do the screening test by placing a small earpiece in baby’s ear. Soft sounds are sent into the ear and the results are sent back into a computer to assess your baby’s hearing. The test is very safe, it doesn’t hurt and lasts only a few minutes.
Most babies sleep through it. The screening will take place in the nursery and the baby will remain in his/her own bed.
What if my baby does not pass the screening?
There are many reasons why your baby may not pass the screening: if your baby is not quiet enough during the screening, if there is noise in the nursery or if there is fluid in the ears. We will try to re-screen the baby before you leave the hospital. If this does not happen or we cannot get the necessary results, you will be given an appointment to return to the audiologist for further testing.
If my baby passes the screening, do I need to have his/her hearing tested again?
Although the screening is very precise, it does not test every pitch or sound. Also, if there are other factors that place your baby at a higher than normal risk for hearing loss, you will be asked to return for further testing when your baby is six months old. The nurse from Public Health will visit you and your baby in the hospital to see if any of these risks are present. For example, a history of hearing loss in the family is a risk factor. If your baby does not have these risk factors and passes the screening, no follow-up testing is necessary.
What if my baby passes the hearing screening and I want further testing?
It is very important to follow how well your child learns how to talk. Hearing can change over time. Many illnesses can cause hearing to change, like scarlet fever, mumps, meningitis, ear infections or even very loud noises.
The hearing screening test can identify most hearing losses. However, it does not replace a full hearing test. If you feel your baby is not responding to sounds or noises, do not hesitate to call your doctor and have his/her office book a full test with an audiologist.
When will I know the results?
After the screening, the trained staff will explain the results to you. The results of the test will also be put in your baby’s chart.
If you have any questions please call your regional audiologist.
Thank you and congratulations!
- Speech and Hearing Department
Speech, Language and Hearing Skills
A child with normal hearing should:
0 - 3 Months
- Startle to loud sounds such as a dog barking.
- Become quiet when listening to a familiar voice.
- Make vowel sounds like "ohh" and "ahh".
3 - 6 Months
- Stir or waken to a noise when sleeping.
- Look toward sounds.
- Make sounds i.e. squeals and chuckles.
6 - 12 Months
- Enjoy noisy toys.
- Respond to his/her name.
- Turn directly to a sound.
- Imitate speech sounds.
12 - 18 Months
- Turn directly to a sound source.
- Correctly use "ma-ma" or "da-da".
- Give a toy when asked.
- Respond to singing and music.
18 - 24 Months
- Use 2-3 words in a sentence.
- Have a 50-250 word vocabulary.
- Follow simple directions (i.e. Go get your coat).