Newborn Hearing Screening

Facts about newborn hearing screening

“Why is it important for me to know about my baby’s hearing now?”

Hearing loss is invisible and can go undiagnosed for several years if not tested at birth. Hearing loss is the most common congenital condition–3 in 1000 babies are born deaf or hard of hearing.

Babies learn to speak by listening. The first three years of a child’s life are the most important for developing language.  A child with hearing loss will have delays in their speech and language if they have not received intervention, so when a hearing loss is not identified, speech and language are often affected. Without a newborn hearing screening, the average age of identifying a child’s hearing loss is at about 2 ½ years of age. 

Identifying hearing loss early means children receive the intervention they need to develop language, and to do well at home and school.  For this reason, most states mandate that hearing screens be performed on all newborns. The cost of this screening may or may not be covered by your insurance company.

newborn hearing screening provided by onsite neonatal partners national neonatal group

Onsite Neonatal Partners provided a hearing screen for your child

  • Your hospital requested that we provide this needed service for every newborn child.

  • Hearing loss cannot be seen.

  • Newborn hearing screening can be the first step in finding out if your baby has a hearing loss.

  • We check the baby’s hearing in the nursery by doing what is called an Automated Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) test. Following the test, the result of PASS or REFER is given.

  • PASS means that your baby hears at what is considered normal hearing level (nHL).

  • REFER does not necessarily mean your child has a hearing impairment.  If your child REFERS, he/she will be screened again. If a second REFER is given, your baby will be recommended for a diagnostic test which is performed at a later date to determine if there is hearing impairment.

My baby was "referred": now what?

Your baby’s doctor will help you make plans to have further testing done by an Audiologist. An Audiologist is a person who specializes in the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of hearing problems. It is very important that you have this done before your baby is 3 months old and preferably before your baby is 1 month old.

  • Follow-up testing should be done on both of the baby’s ears, even if only one ear referred when they were screened in the hospital.

  • Please request that the follow-up testing be done with “ABR” equipment, since that is what was used for the in-hospital screen.

My baby was "referred":
Now what?

Your baby’s doctor will help you make plans to have further testing done by an Audiologist. An Audiologist is a person who specializes in the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of hearing problems. It is very important that you have this done before your baby is 3 months old and preferably before your baby is 1 month old.

  • Follow-up testing should be done on both of the baby’s ears, even if only one ear referred when they were screened in the hospital.

  • Please request that the follow-up testing be done with “ABR” equipment, since that is what was used for the in-hospital screen.

State Specific Legislation and Regulations

If you would like additional information regarding your state’s newborn hearing screening legislation and regulations, please see the links below:

State Specific Legislation and Regulations

If you would like additional information regarding your state’s newborn hearing screening legislation and regulations, please see the links below:

Major Hearing Milestones

Every baby grows and develops differently. If your baby’s milestones are not similar to the ones listed here, or if you have concerns about your baby’s hearing at any time, contact your pediatrician immediately.

0 - 3m

  • Recognizes and quiets to parent’s voice
  • Startles to loud sounds

3 - 6m

  • Awakens to sounds or speech

  • Turns towards interesting sounds

6 - 12m

  • Understands first words such as “Da-Da” and “Ma-Ma”

  • Responds to his or her name

  • Enjoys sounds from rattles and similar toys

  • Coos to music

12 - 18m

  • Says first words such as “Da-Da” and “Ma-Ma”

  • Responds to names of favorite toys by pointing to them when asked

  • Responds to sounds coming from far away

18 - 24m

  • Has vocabulary of approx. 20 words
  • Speaks two word phrases
  • Understands simple “yes” and “no” questions
  • Refers to self by name
  • Follows simple directions

24 - 36m

  • Has vocabulary of approx. 270 words by 24 month, 1000 words by 36 months

  • Speaks to communicate needs, wants, and experiences

  • Speaks simple sentences

  • Recognizes different sounds

  • Understands most of what is said to him/her

Major Hearing Milestones

Every baby grows and develops differently. If your baby’s milestones are not similar to the ones listed here, or if you have concerns about your baby’s hearing at any time, contact your pediatrician immediately.

0 - 3m

  • Recognizes and quiets to parent’s voice
  • Startles to loud sounds

3 - 6m

  • Awakens to sounds or speech

  • Turns towards interesting sounds

6 - 12m

  • Understands first words such as “Da-Da” and “Ma-Ma”

  • Responds to his or her name

  • Enjoys sounds from rattles and similar toys

  • Coos to music

12 - 18m

  • Says first words such as “Da-Da” and “Ma-Ma”

  • Responds to names of favorite toys by pointing to them when asked

  • Responds to sounds coming from far away

18 - 24m

  • Has vocabulary of approx. 20 words
  • Speaks two word phrases
  • Understands simple “yes” and “no” questions
  • Refers to self by name
  • Follows simple directions

24 - 36m

  • Has vocabulary of approx. 270 words by 24 month, 1000 words by 36 months

  • Speaks to communicate needs, wants, and experiences

  • Speaks simple sentences

  • Recognizes different sounds

  • Understands most of what is said to him/her

Scroll to Top