my baby's hearing
 Hearing and AmplificationLanguage and LearningParent to Parent
Visit the Boys Town National Research Hospital Return to My Baby's Hearing Homepage National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders


newborn screening
all about hearing loss
hearing aid choices
cochlear implants
causes of hearing loss

hearing and amplification

Newborn Screening
What Should I Do If My Baby Fails the Test?
download the pdf

If your baby does not pass the newborn hearing screening, please talk with your doctor. The doctor should refer your baby to a pediatric audiologist for follow-up testing.

The First Step
ABR testFor many babies, the first step of follow-up starts with one more screening using tests similar to the ones used in the hospital. If a baby does not pass the follow-up screening, diagnostic testing is completed. Some hospitals or clinics will complete a diagnostic test at the time of follow-up, instead of rescreening.

The ABR is used for diagnostic testing because it can measure the softest level that the ear responds to sounds using different pitches or tones. Diagnostic ABR testing should test low, middle and high-pitched sounds in order to measure how the ear responds to different parts of speech.

If follow-up testing is done before a baby is 2 months old, all testing can be done while the baby sleeps naturally. For older or very active babies, a liquid medicine may be used to help them sleep during testing. It is important that babies are quiet and still for OAE and ABR testing.

The Second Step
If diagnostic testing shows that your baby has a hearing loss, a number of professionals will help your baby and your family. Some of the people you may meet include the following:

  • Little babyServices Coordinator - This person works with early intervention programs. He or she works closely with families to identify their needs and to make sure that providers work together.
  • Early Intervention Specialist - A teacher who specializes in working with infants who have hearing loss.
  • Pediatric Audiologist - A professional who specializes in testing the hearing of infants and children and recommends hearing aids.
  • Ear, Nose and Throat Physician - A doctor who specializes in problems of the ear, nose and throat.
  • Pediatrician or Family Practitioner - A doctor who provides health care for infants and children.

If your baby has a hearing loss, these professionals will be eager to provide support to your family. Their main goal will be to work as a team together with you to help your baby's development. It is important that services for your baby begin as soon as hearing loss is found.

The following link may be helpful.