Approximately 2% to 10% of infants in the US do not pass their first hearing screening. Statistics show that in every 1,000 infants, between 1 to 6 experience congenital hearing loss with hearing impairment at birth. This form of hearing loss is identifiable through infant hearing testing and screening.
At South Coast, we offer infant hearing testing.
There are two main types of infant hearing tests: otoacoustic emissions (OAE) and auditory brainstem response (ABR). Both forms of tests are painless and your child will be comfortable throughout this process.
In the OAE test, a small earphone and microphone are placed into your infant’s ears. We will play sounds while measuring the response. If your infant has normal hearing, our apparatus will catch the echo that reflects back into the ear canal, measured by the microphone. If there is a hearing loss present, no echo will be recorded.
In the ABR test, electrodes will be placed around your infant’s head and ear area. Sounds will be played and the electrodes will record the brain’s response to sound. As hearing happens in the brain, the neural responses will identify if a hearing loss is present.
The OAE and ABR test may be taken together or separately. Commonly, if the infant does not pass the OAE test, the ABR test will be administered.