Hearing management

20 January 2020

Are your newborn's ears working properly? Early hearing test is a must

For every 1 000 infants born, three have moderate, severe or profound hearing loss, which can mean delayed development in language, learning and speech.

When you have a baby, it seems like you visit the doctor all the time for checks on weight and length and to get needed vaccinations. But are you as aware of the guidelines regarding hearing checks for your little one?

Following them is extremely important to his or her development, especially if a problem is found. Hearing loss is the most common congenital condition in the United States, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Below normal hearing skills

For every 1 000 infants born, three have moderate, severe or profound hearing loss, which can mean delayed development in language, learning and speech.

That's why clear guidelines have been established for identifying and helping to overcome hearing problems. Babies are supposed to receive a hearing screening by the time they're one month old. Any hearing loss should be diagnosed by three months, and it's best that needed intervention for any hearing loss happens by the time your baby is six months of age.

These guidelines are proven to have benefits, but the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wanted to know how often they are followed and their impact on language development. So, researchers studied children ranging in age from eight months to just over three years – all of whom had hearing loss diagnosed during infancy.

Children who did not receive care as outlined in the guidelines had language skills that were far below normal for their age. On the other hand, babies who did receive the suggested care had a substantially higher vocabulary score than those who were treated later on.

Overcoming hearing problems requires a team effort. Specialised hearing testing should be done by a qualified paediatric audiologist. Ask your paediatrician for details.

Image credit: iStock


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Hearing Expert

Minette Lister graduated with a Bachelor of Communication Pathology (Audiology) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville in 2015. Thereafter, she completed her compulsory year of community service at Phoenix Assessment and Therapy Centre in Durban. In 2017, Minette started working for Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. She is passionate about working with children and adults to diagnose and manage hearing loss using state of the art technology. Minette offers hearing screening programmes for newborn and high-risk babies, as well as school-aged children, in order to decrease the incidence of late or unidentified hearing loss.

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