Newborn Hearing Screening
Newborn hearing screening checks whether a baby hears well and
all babies can have their hearing screened free of charge. If
a baby has hearing loss, finding it early will help their language,
learning and social development.
Research has found that if hearing loss is detected early,
interventions will improve a child's ability to develop language,
to learn and develop social skills. Maori and Pacific babies and
children are more likely to have a hearing loss than other babies
and children in New Zealand.
A baby may have screening before leaving the hospital and at the
latest, screening should be finished by the time baby is one month
Screening for hearing loss is strongly recommended for all
The hearing test itself:
The test itself is simple and safe, won't cause your baby any
discomfort. It just takes a few minutes. Most babies will pass the
newborn hearing test, which means that at the time of screening
they are unlikely to have a hearing loss.
If a clear response is unable to be obtained and the result of
screening is 'refer', ideally baby should have diagnostic audiology
testing by three months and, if a hearing loss is found,
intervention can start by six months.
If a baby does have a hearing loss, the help the baby and parent
will be offered depends on the baby's hearing levels.
It might include:
- support and education about hearing loss and helping your child
- information on devices such as hearing aids and cochlear
- different ways of communicating, like sign language
- genetic counselling.
If there are any concerns
If a parent is worried about their baby's ability to hear at any
time, talk to the Lead Maternity Carer, GP, Well Child provider or
early childhood teacher. Even if a baby passes the newborn hearing
screening, they could still develop a hearing loss later, and it's
never too late to discuss any concerns.