11 answers

Newborn Son Is Failing Hearing Screen

I had a baby on March 17. My other 2 children are 10 and 12 and since they were born they have added the newborn hearing scdreen at the hospital. My son failed it three, times. He received a referral for both ears to an audiologist. today is appointment #2 for yet anothwer round of tests. he continues to have no response in his left ear and only partial response in his right. he startles at nouses, turns towards voices, coos already and seems fine....buut I know that hearing loss is a very real possibility. how did others in this situation cope> fear of the unknown and all. thanks!!

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My son was born this April 8th and failed the hearing test several times. Due to the family history of hearing loss, (I have 50% hearing loss both ears) some genetic, my husband and I have set up an appointment with an audiologist in another week. We know he does respond to some noise, but there are other times that he has completely been unresponsive to "a phone ringing next to his ear". Hope everything goes ok. Hang in there.

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My background is in Deaf Education and I agree with previous posters that the hearing tests on babies are not always accurate. It is very important to continue to have your child's hearing assessed because if it turns out that he has a hearing loss then the sooner he is fitted for hearing aids or receives other services (whether it is sign language, speech therapy, or other)the better as far as developing speech and language. You asked how people cope with this situation...my suggestion would be to research and read about hearing loss. If you know anyone in the Deaf Community connect with them. They are a wonderful resource. If you don't know of anyone in the Deaf Community or live in a small community (where there likely isn't a Deaf Community) then you could connect with a teacher of the deaf through your local school or early childhood program. They should be able to give you lots of information and resources. They might also be able to connect you to others in similar situations. I haven't worked in Deaf Education since 2003 but if you wish to contact me, I will answer your questions as best I can. Best of luck.

Our son was born in October & failed his hearing test several times. We finally ended up at the AEA in our area in December and they tested him. After a few rounds, he finally passed (without referring). I had a c-section with him. I've heard that babies that aren't born naturally don't get all the "stuff" squeezed out of them, including in their ears. I just assumed that's what had happened with our son. Also, the AEA have a little bit more sensitive equipment than what the nurses at our hospital had. It may just be a matter of checking it periodically. It was a little scary at first, but it was a couple of months before we got any results. Good luck -- keep trying!

Congratulations on your baby! There are different levels of hearing loss, as I'm sure you are aware. Both my children did not have auditory issues, however, I did begin teaching them ASL (American Sign Language) at a very early age. It brought down their frustration level because children's motor skills develop more quickly than their verbal skills. There is also the Choclear Implant; if the Doctor's say your child is a good candidate. The truth of the matter, the Deaf and hard of hearing community has some wonderful information. Don't be afraid to contact an association in your community and understand, if your child does have hearing issues, there is an abundance of information out there along with a wonderfully full life. Good luck and God Bless

My son was born this April 8th and failed the hearing test several times. Due to the family history of hearing loss, (I have 50% hearing loss both ears) some genetic, my husband and I have set up an appointment with an audiologist in another week. We know he does respond to some noise, but there are other times that he has completely been unresponsive to "a phone ringing next to his ear". Hope everything goes ok. Hang in there.

My 1st son failed several rounds of the hearing tests before we took him home from the hospital, then we returned after he was discharged for another test and he failed again. Finally we were referred to a clinic and he passed that test the first time. The hospital tests are not reliable.


I agree completly with the audiologist. The first responder really has no idea what she is talking about and if she had done a little research she would have realized what this test is about. Our daughter failed her hosptial screening two times before being released from the hospital. We took her back one week later and she still failed. We then had an appointment with an EMT (ear, nose, throat doctor) to make sure that there wasn't fluid build up. There wasn't. So the next step was to go to an audiologist. Long story short we had the test done that the previous audiologist wrote to you about. - An ABR, and an abnormal otoacousitc emission testing. - If I remember correctly she was around 9 months old when we had the test. They did have to sedate her and the electrodes just read what the brain waves were sending to the ear canal and basically could give us a definitive answer as to the severity of her hearing loss. We found at that time that her left ear had a 50% hearing loss and the right was ok. For us we felt the need of knowing what we were dealing with was more important than to just wait till she was older. If your child has possible hearing loss in both ears I would definately have the test done. It was over and done within an hour and not at all painful on the child and they will have no memory of it at all. Currently our daughter is almost 5 and will be going to Kindergarden this fall. She will be getting a hearing aid in about two weeks which we hope will get her ready for school in the fall. She would probably get by ok without one since she has one "good" ear but as parents I want to give her the best chance for her to susceed. You would be surprised at how many people I have run into when discussing my childs hearing loss that have told me they have some hearing loss and that they did have issues at times in school but that they "got by". So we could just let things go and not push for the hearing aid but I just feel like I wouldn't be doing what is best for my daughter. I guess in the end my best advice is get informed on your options and do what feels right for you. But don't be afraid to get that test done. I think knowing and then dealing with the outcome is better than denying there is an issue, especially if two ears are possibly not working properly. You want to get things corrected right away to avoid any speach issues down the road.

Feel free to email me back as well. I have done quite a bit of research myself and talked to lots of people. I would really be honored to be able to support you any way I could since I know what you are going through.

Take care,

Hi J.,

My little girl, who is now 2, also failed her hearing tests. I was so sad about it at first but am lucky enough to have several doctors in the family who told me not to worry because these tests are notoriously unreliable. Apparently a babies ear canal is so small that it's really hard to get an accurate read on them until they are older. Lilli had several rounds of tests during the first year and at one point, they wanted to put her under and do a more invasive test to pinpoint the severity of the hearing loss. I was not comfortable with such an invasive procedure so I never scheduled it...my doctor was fine with this decision. We have continued to watch her as she develops and I am convinced that she has no hearing loss (or VERY little). As a baby, she always reacted to noise and never showed any signs of hearing loss and her speech has developed normally. I know that I made the right decision for me in taking the diagnosis as informational and something to watch and I'm glad that I did not subject her to any further testing. When she gets a little bit older and can communicate with us even better, we will have her hearing tested again just to make sure all is OK. Hope this helps...good luck to you!


As an audiologist, I feel that I need to say something. I am also a mother of a 19 month old son. My husband and I both have significant hearing losses, so we were very nervous about the hearing test results, but he did pass. I agree with you there is the fear of the unknown. Regarding the hearing test your baby had done at the hospital, it can give false negative results, hence the reason for repeating the test. This is because there can be things in the ear canal from birth (vernix), the technician who does the hearing testing can have the probe put in the ear incorrectly, noise in the room where the testing is conducted...there are several things. I do strongly encourage you to keep up with the testing. Startling to noise, turning to voices, is a good sign that there is some hearing, just need to measure how much. I also feel that I need to say soemthing regarding another post that was made in response to this. The other test that the mother was talking about is not invasive. Yes, it can require sedation and many people are uncomfortable with that (understandably). I'm not exactly sure what she meant by it being invasive, but it would require electrodes to be placed on several spots of the head and earphones put in the ears (to me, that's not invasive...to me, cutting someone open is invasive). I really hope I didn't step on any toes here, but I just felt that as an audiologist I needed to say something. If you'd like, I'd be willing to talk with you privately regarding any questions you may have.

Take care...

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