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Newborn & Children Hearing Assessment

Newborn & Children Hearing Assessment


Regarding hearing impairment testing for newborn & children, various factors determine how and when to conduct the testing. One crucial consideration is the child's genetic predisposition for hearing problems. Suppose a family history of hearing loss or the child's genetic condition increases the likelihood of hearing impairment. In that case, we recommend that the child conduct hearing screening for newborns in Malaysia and start testing earlier.

Early detection and intervention for hearing problems in children are crucial for improving their quality of life. By conducting newborn hearing assessments and identifying hearing loss early, healthcare providers can collaborate with families to develop a plan to address the child's needs and promote better outcomes. Schedule a booking with our professional audiologists in Malaysia now.



Newborn Hearing Screening in Malaysia


It is important that the child’s hearing loss is diagnosed before 3 months of age. A baby with a hearing loss present at birth should start treatment before the age of 6 months, which is an important time for speech and language development. Children whose hearing loss is identified early and who receive early intervention are found to function at the level of their peers by the time they enter school.

There are two primary screening tests for newborns. Both tests are painless, take only a few minutes, and are best done while the baby is sleeping.

  • An Otoacoustic Emission test (OAE), in which a tiny microphone is placed in the baby’s ear. Sounds are transmitted into the ear, and the sounds that are emitted by the cochlea are recorded in the ear canal. Thresholds at certain frequencies can be determined by analysing the emissions. If the baby has a hearing loss there will be no emission of sound.
  • An Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test, which uses electrodes placed at several locations on the baby’s head and ear. While the baby is resting an acoustic stimulus is presented to each ear either through headphones or insert-earphones. An analysis of the activity in the brain reveals the thresholds of hearing.
  • Tympanometry is a test that may help determine how the child’s inner ear is functioning. Air pressure is transmitted into the ear making the ear drum move. The mobility of the eardrum is then measured by a special machine. The test does not determine if the child is hearing or not but can detect changes in the pressure of the inner ear. This test requires the child to sit very still and is mostly used on older children.

In addition to the above mentioned tests, a hearing test of the infant may include:

  • A simple behavioural audiometry test that includes the use of hand-held sound stimuli representing various frequency ranges (for example a drum, rattle, bell, etc.). This test is used to observe the infant’s behaviour in response to certain sounds.
    Sound field testing with visual reinforcement during which the infant is exposed to a variety of sounds through loudspeakers. The infant is trained to turn towards any sound source. When responding, the child is “rewarded” through an entertaining visual image or toy.

When evaluating the hearing of a toddler the following test may also be used:

  • Conditioned play audiometry (CPA) is a headphone testing used on infants and young children mature enough to tolerate this test strategy, which provides specific information about the hearing loss. The test is often made into a game and the child is asked to do something with a toy (e.g. touch a toy) every time a sound is heard. The test thus relies on the active participation of the toddler.

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