It is important that newborns undergo a hearing test for early detection of hearing loss.
Screening for hearing impairment is done for all newborns in the hospital before discharge. For the baby who does not pass this hearing screening test, a repeat test will be arranged at the clinic. If the baby continues to not pass the repeat test, the baby will be referred to the ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) specialist for confirmatory hearing testing and subsequent management.
Hearing loss in the newborn is not easily picked up without specialised hearing screening. If not detected early, hearing impairment may result in speech and language delays in the child.
Hearing loss may be due to inherited causes, ear malformations, intrauterine infections, prematurity, recurrent ear infections or brain infections. Most babies with hearing impairment do not have family members affected by this condition.
About 4 out of every 1000 babies will have significant hearing loss, which puts these babies at high risk of delay in speech, language, intellectual, social and emotional development if undetected and treated.
Diagnosis of hearing impairment is made through specialised hearing tests and detailed evaluation by the ENT specialist. Treatment options may range from hearing amplification with hearing aids, audiovisual therapy and cochlear implants.
Our experience over the last ten years has shown that babies with significant hearing impairment who receive early, appropriate therapy can achieve normal speech and development.
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This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
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