What Types of Hearing Tests Done on Newborn Babies

According to law, a newborn hearing test is mandated by law in all 50 states of the United States, a law that further mandates it before a newborn can leave the hospital. In our previous article, we just talked about why a newborn hearing test so necessary even without law in other countries. Here will talk about the types of hearing tests done on newborn babies.



Please don’t worry parents as a newborn hearing test doesn’t involve injections and the like. Both types of newborn hearing tests are painless so much so that these will not affect your baby’s deep sleep. You and your baby’s pediatrician will agree which of the two types of tests will be suitable for your baby.


Types of Tests Done


Keep in mind that these hearing screening tests should be done in a hospital and conducted by a trained technician, usually an audiologist. This is because a newborn baby’s hearing system is as fragile as can be, and any loud sound can damage it.


  • Otoacoustic emission (OAE) test records the tiny sounds made by the inner ear in response to the chirps or clicks made by a small, flexible plug placed in a newborn baby’s ear. Each ear will be tested in turn with each passing test regarded as a confirmation that the inner ear is receiving the auditory stimulation.


  • Automated auditory brainstem response (ABR) test records the auditory nerves’ activity when the clicks or chirps are delivered through the plug. It requires the placement of small electrodes tapes to the infant’s scalp – the electrodes are harmless and hypoallergenic – that confirms brain activity in response to the auditory stimulation.


Aside from these screening tests, parents are well-advised to let their babies undergo them as a precautionary measure. In case of hearing-related issues, the appropriate measures can be done as early as possible, and we know the importance of early intervention in children.


Follow-up Test May Be Needed


But what happens if your baby doesn’t pass, so to speak, the hearing test? Don’t worry too much about it since a significant number of newborns fail their initial hearing test for a natural reason – fluid is likely still present in the ear canal, a natural post-birth occurrence.


The pediatric audiologist will schedule a follow-up test in the next couple of weeks; by then, the fluid in the ear canal should be gone. Most infants, furthermore, pass their foll0w-up test but for those who don’t pass it, a diagnostic hearing test will be made to investigate the matter further.


The hearing tests performed for infants differ depending on their age, too. Older children who respond to external sounds usually have a different test than for infants, for example, while teens and adults usually have the same hearing screening exams.


Even with hearing issues, a pediatric audiologist can work with the baby’s parents to find the best solution. Indeed, with the modern audiology technology we have today, there’s always hope for a treatment. If there’s no treatment, then there are other methods by which a child can enjoy life to the fullest with the assistance of parents, doctors, and therapists.


If you think your infant need a hearing test, please contact us for further consulation. We are a Hong Kong hearing & speech centre offering hearing test & assessment and hearing aid prescription.




HK Hearing & Speech Centre

Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,

and Hearing aid prescription


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HK Hearing & Speech Centre
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