How Newborn Hearing Screening Helps Children

year of life is a crucial time for your baby. Did you know that your
baby's brain doubles in size in the first year of life? During this time,
the brain is forming connections for important
skills like learning language. Two out of every 1,000 babies
may need some extra help with this because they're
born deaf or hard of hearing. It's important to find hearing
loss as soon as possible because babies start
learning how to communicate as soon as they're born. Sounds, facial expressions,
gestures, and signs are all building blocks
for communication. If hearing loss is found early,
children and their families can get help developing
communication skills. You can't tell for sure
if a baby has hearing loss just by watching them. A baby who is deaf
or hard of hearing may cry or seem to react to
sounds just like other babies. 95 percent of babies
identified with hearing loss are born to hearing parents. Only a hearing test
designed for newborns can tell you if your baby
is deaf or hard of hearing. Newborn hearing screening
is a safe, painless test and can be done in
about 10 minutes while your baby's sleeping. Tiny earphones are placed
in or over the ear and soft clicking or
beeping sounds are played. The equipment
measures the response to the sound from your
baby's ear or brain. If your baby does not pass
the newborn hearing screening, it's a good
opportunity to find out more about how your baby hears. You can do this by making sure
the screening is done again, usually two weeks later. If your baby doesn't
pass the screening again, an audiology clinic for children
can perform a full hearing test. The audiologist will
find out why your baby didn't pass the screening. Some families find out it was
because of a temporary blockage in the ear. Other families learn that their
child has permanent hearing loss. And they begin their
journey learning how to help their child. These families are offered
early support services, like hearing aids and
sign language, that help deaf and hard of hearing
children be successful. They also meet lots of
specialists and other families of children who are deaf or hard
of hearing who are all there to support them
on their journey. Studies show that the
sooner you give children the help they need,
the better they will learn speech and
language, the better they will do in
school, and the better they will do socially and
emotionally as they grow up. It's important to know that
even if your baby passes a newborn hearing screening,
it's still possible for hearing loss to show up later. Watch for signs of
hearing loss as your baby grows and talk with your baby's
doctor if you're worried. You know your child best. And you are the best
person to make sure they have the care they need.

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