One to two babies in every 1,000 born in Ireland are born with a hearing loss in one or both ears.
Most babies born with a hearing loss are born into families with no history of hearing loss so it is important to screen all babies as early as possible.
Continue reading for information on the hearing tests we perform on newborns at Beacon Audiology.
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Test
Otoacoustic emissions (OAE) testing is used to assess the integrity of the outer hair cells in the cochlea (inner ear). A probe tip is placed in the ear and a series of sounds are presented. No behavioral response or co-operation from the child is required. Responses produced by the inner ear are recorded and the test only takes 20-30 seconds.
This is a quick, easy and objective test used to assess cochlear (inner ear) function and to rule out the possibility of a hearing loss.
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR/BSER) Test
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR/BSER) is a screening test for hearing loss or deafness, especially notable for its use with newborn infants. It is a method to assess the auditory pathways and brainstem function in response to auditory stimuli, prior to the child developing to the point of describing a possible hearing problem.
ABR is a safe and painless test. ABR is performed when the child is asleep or in a resting state. Electrodes are applied to the child’s head and insert earphones are used to provide the sounds. Neurological responses are recorded in response to the sounds presented. The test takes approximately 1 hour.