Learn About Newborn Hearing Screening:
Hearing screening checks for hearing loss. Identifying hearing loss early helps babies stay on track with their speech, language and communication skills as they grow. Screenings are done before you take your baby home from the hospital. If your baby is not born in a hospital, the tests are done between 24-48 hours after your baby’s birth.
There are two ways to screen your baby’s hearing. Both are safe and are usually done when your baby is asleep. The first test measures a tiny sound the ear makes when the baby is hearing properly; this test is called an Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) test. The second test measures the baby’s nerve response to sound. This is called an Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test.
- Ask your baby’s medical provider or hospital of birth to provide you with their hearing results.
- If you baby did not pass the hearing screen or you have any questions about their hearing, it is very important to contact your baby’s medical provider or a hearing provider right away to schedule a follow-up appointment.
- The Tennessee Department of Health sends a letter to every family who has a baby that did not pass the initial hearing screening.This letter states the type of hearing screening their baby received in the hospital or birthing center. If you have not received this letter, you may contact the TN Department of Health at 615-532-8462. You can also ask your baby’s medical provider or hospital of birth to provide you with their hearing results.
- It is important to find a provider which offers the same test, or higher, that your baby received in the hospital setting. The 2021 Infant Audiological Assessment and Diagnostic Centers can be used as a reference for finding the appropriate follow up for your baby.
- As your baby gets older, a pediatric audiologist may be able to see them. For a list of audiologists, the 2021 Pediatric Audiology Centers can be used as a reference for finding the appropriate follow up for your infant.
- 2021 Pediatric Audiology Centers
- Even if your baby passes the newborn hearing screen, their hearing can change. A baby can develop a hearing loss after birth because of middle ear infections or fluid in the middle ear. There are a number of risk indicators that may lead to a hearing loss in your baby. Family history or illness such as meningitis can also affect hearing. Your baby may need to have their hearing tested on a regular basis to monitor any changes in hearing levels. Please contact your baby's medical provider to determine if further testing is needed.
For more information:
- Call: 855-202-1357
- Email: NBS.Health@tn.gov