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Newborn Hearing Screening

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Newborn hearing screening helps discover hearing problems at the earliest stages. Babies learn how to talk by listening to others, so hearing loss affects their ability to develop speech and language.

All babies born at University of Miami Health System receive a newborn hearing screening before they leave the hospital. Newborn hearing screening — a critical component of early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) — is required by law for all hospitals in Florida and many other states.

Who is a Candidate?

All newborns must undergo a newborn hearing screening. While most babies can hear normally, 1 to 3 out of every 1,000 babies are born with some type of hearing loss, according to Healthy Children. Without newborn hearing screening, a hearing problem is likely to go unnoticed and undiagnosed for months or even years. 

If your baby has a hearing problem, it’s important they get early intervention and treatment to help reduce the likelihood of related developmental problems.

What to Expect

There are two types of newborn hearing screening tests:

  • Auditory brainstem response (ABR): This test measures how well your child’s inner ear (cochlea) and brain pathways for hearing are functioning. Your child wears earphones that emit clicks or tones. Three electrodes placed on your child’s head measure the hearing nerve’s response to the noises.
  • Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs): This test measures how well your baby’s inner ear is functioning. A tiny probe, placed inside your child’s ear canal, measures the movement of sensory cells in the inner ear when clicks or tones are played into their ears.

Your baby may undergo one or both these painless tests, which take about 5 to 10 minutes each. The tests can be completed while your baby is awake or asleep.

Why Choose UHealth?

Excellence in treating children’s hearing conditions. We’ve been recognized by Children’s Medical Services (CMS), a division within the Florida Department of Health, for excellence in newborn hearing screening and early identification of hearing loss in infants.

World-class health care for children. Children and their families come from all over the world to receive top-quality care from our compassionate team of pediatric specialists. Your child will receive personalized attention from doctors who are sought out for their expertise.

HealthySteps program helps children meet milestones. All our general pediatrics offices use the HealthySteps program to ensure that children are developing appropriately for their age — physically, emotionally, and psychologically. When there are issues or concerns, we work closely with patients and their families to connect them with support resources. We’re the only academic health center in South Florida with developmental and behavioral pediatric specialists on staff.

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