What Do My Baby’s Test Results Mean?

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

What Does it Mean if a Baby Does Not Pass the Newborn Hearing Screening?

When a baby does not pass the newborn hearing screening, it does NOT necessarily mean that he or she has a hearing loss.

2-10% of all babies in the U.S. fail their first hearing screening and less than 1% will have permanent hearing loss

Babies with normal hearing can fail the newborn hearing screening test due to:

  • Vernix (a waxy coating on a newborn's skin) in the ear canal
  • Fluid in the middle ear
  • Movement and/or crying during the test

Even though most babies will pass the follow-up hearing testing, it is VERY important to take your baby for follow-up testing. This is the best way to be SURE about your baby's hearing.

It is also important to return for follow-up testing because if your baby does have a permanent hearing loss, early intervention is a key to your child's success. Evidence shows the sooner you can give your child the resources they need, the better they will learn speech and language, the better they will do academically and the better they will do socially and emotionally as they grow older.

Can a Baby Pass the Test and Still Have Hearing Loss?

Sometimes babies can pass a hearing test and still have hearing loss. Some mild hearing loss that affects only some pitches may not be picked up by the screening test.

Infant Hearing Loss Developing After Birth

Some infants have hearing loss that is not present at birth. These babies are born with normal hearing, but develop a hearing loss later due to accident, use of certain medications, illness or genetics. Regardless of your baby's age, there are safe and accurate tests that can be used to measure how your baby hears.

If your baby has risk factors for a later-occurring hearing loss or if you have concerns about your child's responses to sound or his or her speech development, you should discuss this with your baby's doctor.