That Hearing Screening Your Newborn Took? It May Not Be Accurate

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, In The News

newborn hearing screening

Newborn hearing screenings don't detect all children who are at risk for hearing loss. Credit: Getty Images


If you're the parent of a newborn, you probably spend most of your time worrying about something. But just in case you are running out of things to worry about, here's something new to keep you up at night.

Newborn hearing screenings don't detect all children who are at risk for hearing loss.

BusinessWeek reports that researchers studied 391 children who received cochlear implants in America from 1991 to 2008. Nearly a third of the children who received the implants passed newborn screening tests with flying colors. However, they were still diagnosed with hearing loss.

Cochlear implants are small electronic gizmos surgically implanted to stimulate the auditory nerve to enable deaf or severely hearing-impaired people to process sound.

According to BusinessWeek, researchers also studied 264 children born before newborn hearing tests became mandatory in Illinois, and 127 children born after screening became mandatory.

Children born after the law took effect were younger when they were diagnosed with hearing loss than children born before the law. Children born later were also younger when they were diagnosed with severe to profound hearing loss and younger when they received cochlear implants compared to those born prior to passage of the law.

Just what does all this mean?

BusinessWeek reports researchers' findings suggest newborn hearing screenings appear to identify children with hearing loss at a younger age, but the tests are not the be-all-end-all of diagnoses. In other words, remain vigilant.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.