Infant Hearing Screening

Woodlawn Hospital is committed to identifying children with hearing loss during their infancy so they can begin to receive appropriate and early intervention. Every baby born at Woodlawn Hospital undergoes infant hearing screening. The earlier hearing loss is discovered the sooner treatment can begin.

Good hearing is essential for a child's overall development. A child's brain develops in response to the amount of sensory stimulation it receives. Every year, over 24,000 children are born in the United States with a hearing loss, many of whom are not identified until the age of two and a half, the national average. Children with unidentified hearing loss will not receive adequate sensory stimulation beginning at birth, and their language circuitry may never fully develop. Early intervention services greatly improve the child's prognosis of achieving normal social, emotional and language development.

Woodlawn Hospital offers newborn screening with a Welch Allyn Hearing Screener. The screen is easy, painless, reliable, and takes only a few minutes to administer. During the hearing screen, soft clicking sounds are generated and sent through specially designed earplugs which are placed in the baby's ears. The Hearing Screener will generate a "pass" or "refer" result, indicating only that further testing is recommended.

If your baby passes his or her screening, you can feel confident that he or she can hear even the softest sounds required for speech and language development. However, continue to monitor your baby's speech and language development. Some childhood accidents and diseases can cause hearing loss, so contact your baby's doctor if you are concerned. If your baby "refers" on either ear, your pediatrician will be notified and he will discuss further testing with you. There are some normal reasons why your baby's hearing may generate a "refer" response (such as vernix or fluid in ears after delivery).

For more information on Woodlawn Hospital's Infant Hearing Screening please call the New Generations Family Birthing Center at (574) 224-1250.