Ear test in newborns: what it is, how and when it is done

As soon as the babies are born, they undergo rigorous supervision by the specialists who have helped them come into the world.

The hours in which both the mother and the baby are in the clinic will be essential to check that the baby maintains all their physical and behavioral faculties correctly and can go home without any problem.

During your stay in the maternity clinic you will be weighed, measured, checked for motor reflexes and that your small body responds correctly to the stimuli as well as feeding and defecating properly.

The days after the birth are essential, since the parents will have to take care of and take care of their baby at home and whatever they notice and it is of importance they go to the doctor to verify a possible problem or false alarm.

The hearing test is ideal to determine the quality of hearing in babies under 4 weeks, this test it is painless and consists of two processes or tests that will assess the child's hearing.

What is the hearing test?

The two exams that we have named above are the Autoacoustic Emissions and the Auditory Brainstem Response, both exams can be used jointly or separately, normally the Autoacoustic Emissions (OAEs) are used first and if in the negative case the ABR will be examined.

Hearing loss has congenital causes and affects one in 1,000 babies, although in most cases it does not have specific causes, there are a number of factors that can cause it:

  • Premature children

  • Children who need intensive care.

  • Family history of hearing loss.

  • Very high concentration of bilirubin and subjected to a transfusion.

  • He received medication.

  • Problems during childbirth

Precisely for this reason, it is important that babies during their first weeks of life undergo an auditory test that will determine the hearing ability of the baby and if there is any deficiency in the ears.

After being born and during the following hours it will be the doctors like the pediatrician, the nurses and the obstetrician who conscientiously check the general state of the baby, his reflexes, his weight and height, his breathing, the heart, the color of his skin and his muscular tone.

When the time in the hospital is over, it will be the parents in charge of taking care of your baby and being alert to any possible complication or detection of any problem that may exist.

When is the hearing test performed on the baby?

Normally before leaving the hospital, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends performing a hearing test to check that the baby hears perfectly.

During the following weeks it is recommended that the baby be submitted to the hearing test, since 1 and 2 of every 1,000 children are born with hearing problems and can be detected after birth and thus try to reduce their problem.

The specialists will be in charge of correctly detecting if the baby hears enough, because if a hearing reduction is detected during the first 6 months there is more chance that the baby will develop good possibilities of speech and learning properly.

The hearing test consists of two processes as we have indicated you previously:

  • The Autoacoustic Emisons are responsible for detecting if the different parts of the inner ear hear correctly and respond to the sound from the outside. A hearing aid will be placed in the ear canal and a sound that will echo will be emitted. If the child does not react, it is most probable that there is a hearing impairment.

  • The Auditory Brainstem Response Test will evaluate how the auditory nerve responds to sounds. Hearing aids are placed in the baby's ear and a series of bells will be issued thanks to electrodes placed on the head.

Thanks to the auditory tests, the babies will be able to solve some of their hearing problems as long as the detection of their hearing deficiency or reduction It is done within the first 6 months of age.

How is the test done?

In the first test a very small probe is placed inside the visible auditory canal (external ear), and a sound will be emitted, before which the snail or cochlea (inner ear) will generate a series of noises that will be recorded on a monitor.

If these noises are not detected, deafness may occur, although we must bear in mind that this test has a reliability of 80%, hence a second test will be carried out later.

What is the test of the ear for?

As indicated above, It is essential to diagnose early on some type of deafness or hearing loss that may be present in the baby, which should be treated and restore hearing before two years either with the help of a surgery, a hearing aid or a cochlear implant.

Why is treatment so important? Mainly because through the ear the child develops speech, so that any auditory disorder involves a delay in both language and communication. This article is published for informational purposes only. You can not and should not replace the consultation with a Pediatrician. We advise you to consult your trusted pediatrician. ThemesNewborn

Middle Ear Tests (Hearing) for Children (October 2019)