Newborn Hearing Screening

One to two babies in every 1,000 born in Ireland are born with a hearing loss in one or both ears.

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Most babies born with hearing loss are born into families with no history of hearing loss, so it is important to screen all babies as early as possible. The cause of permanent hearing loss in the majority of children is unknown. Other causes of congenital hearing loss in children include maternal infections, premature birth, low birth weight, birth injuries and genetic causes.

The earlier a hearing loss is identified, the earlier an appropriate treatment plan can be executed and thereby avoiding any additional speech and language delay.

Transient Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions (TEOAE)

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 hearing loss.

Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)

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 deliver the sounds. Neurological responses are recorded in response to the sounds presented. The test takes approximately 1 hour

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With over 40 years of accumulated experience in performing a high standard of hearing, balance and hearing aid assessments we have the team and equipment to help you.

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Frequently asked questions about Paediatric Hearing Assessments

  • The ears will be checked for inflammation, wax occlusion, glue ear or any other anomalies through otoscopy. Tympanometry is then carried out in order to confirm the presence of glue ear, perforation or wax occlusion. Otoacoustic emissions are performed to check the function of the cochlea. This is a repeat of the test your child will have received at birth.