A hearing screening is a quick test to see how well you hear different sounds. You either pass or fail the screening. If you pass and have no other hearing concerns, then you can continue with regularly scheduled hearing screenings. If you fail, or if you have other concerns about your hearing, then you may need more in-depth testing to see if you have a hearing loss and what treatment options may be right for you.
You can have a hearing screening at any age. Most states have newborn hearing screening requirements in place. Children get screenings at school or at the doctor’s office. Adults can go to the doctor or local health fairs for a screening.
You should ask your doctor for a hearing screening if you have concerns about your or your child’s hearing. An audiologist can give you a more complete hearing test if you fail the screening. This is called an evaluation, and you should have it done as soon as possible after the failed screening.
Today, most hospitals screen babies’ hearing shortly after birth. Failing the hearing screening does not mean that your baby has a hearing loss. Not all babies pass the hearing screening the first time. Your baby can get a second screening to verify the results.
Hearing screenings for newborns and infants are simple and painless. Your baby rests or sleeps during the test. The two common screening methods for babies are otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) and auditory brainstem response (ABR).
What happens if your baby fails the hearing screening? You would take your baby to see an audiologist for a complete hearing test. It is important to find out--as early as possible--if your baby has a hearing loss. You can get your baby help with their hearing so that they can use and learn from the sounds around them.
Even if your baby passes the screening, he may have problems hearing later. If you have a family history of hearing loss or if you think that your child has trouble hearing, talk to your doctor, and ask for a hearing test. You may be able to get a screening through your local school district or health department. Contact your local Early Intervention program to ask about screenings, testing, and treatment for hearing loss.
A pure-tone test is the most common screening for older children and adults. You may remember putting on earphones and raising your hand when you heard a beep. This is a pure-tone test. Your child should get a screening in school every few years. You should get your hearing checked on a regular basis as well. Hearing loss may happen as you get older. Regular screenings will help you keep track of your hearing and get help when you need it.
Take care of your hearing like you take care of the rest of your body. Get your hearing screened. See an audiologist if you have any concerns.