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When will my baby’s hearing be screened?

2012-08-09

Most children hear and listen to sounds from birth. They learn to talk by imitating the sounds around them and the voices of their parents and caregivers. But that’s not true for all children. In fact, about two or three out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born deaf or hard-of-hearing. More lose their hearing later during childhood. Many of these children may need to learn speech and language differently, so it’s important to detect deafness or hearing loss as early as possible. For this reason, universal newborn hearing screening programs currently operate in all U.S. states and most of the territories. With help from the federal government, every state has established an Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program as part of its public health system. As a result, more than 95 percent of babies have their hearing screened soon after they are born.

Your baby’s hearing should be screened before he or she leaves the hospital or birthing center. If you and your baby are already home and you haven’t been told the results of the hearing screening, ask your doctor. If the results indicate your baby may have hearing loss, it’s important to work with your doctor to make an appointment with a hearing expert, called an audiologist (aw-dee-AH-luh-jist), to perform a more thorough hearing test before your baby is 3 months old.

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