Hearing in Infants and Small Children

Maine hospitals are required by law to inform new families about the importance of newborn hearing screening. The Maine Newborn Hearing Program was established to provide information to families about hearing screening, evaluation, and services.

All babies born at TAMC have an infant hearing screening as part of the newborn's physical assessment. It is important to find out about any hearing loss as soon as possible. Early detection allows children to receive special assistance with developing language skills at an early age.

The hearing test, which is conducted while the baby sleeps, is noninvasive and takes only 2 to 15 minutes to perform. A small set of headphones is placed over the baby's ears and a series of soft clicks are emitted. A tiny electrode, taped to the baby's forehead, records the entire hearing pathway from the ear to the brainstem. The brainwaves are then compared to a pattern of normal responses. Parents will know the results of their baby's test immediately.
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