He failed hearing screening! What’s next?

Wondering if your child has a hearing loss can be scary.

The best feeling quoteIn the U.S. there are 24,000 infants born with hearing loss every year. Lost time identifying hearing loss means lost learning – forever. The brain development time between birth and age one can never be replaced or ‘caught up.’

If you’ve been assured that failing a hearing screening is often due to ear infection you need to know that often times 1 out of every 10 babies that fail a newborn hearing screening have permanent hearing loss. Of those that are identified, 19 out of 20 are in families where there is no history of childhood hearing loss. More about newborn hearing screening.

An unidentified hearing loss in a preschool or school-age child often is mistaken for inattention (ADHD), socially awkward (autism spectrum), delays in learning that get bigger every year (cognitive impairment). Yet, hearing loss is a barrier to accessing spoken language and the learning delays that can happen are NOT the result of a brain disorder. If hearing loss is addressed in infancy, learning delays, social and behavioral issues need never arise. Take action now.

What do I do next?

Get your child’s hearing tested by an audiologist who specializes in evaluating children.

To find a pediatric audiologist, check here.  If there is a hold up with your health insurance or funding – don’t give up! If your child has a hearing loss, then there is an urgent need for action!

If your child is under age 3 years, then your state Part C Early Intervention Program may pay for a hearing evaluation as part of a comprehensive evaluation to determine if early services are needed.

If your child is 3 years or older, you can request that hearing be screened as part of the requirement that the school district perform Child Find activities. Sometimes this is a hearing screening at a school by the school nurse. If the child does not pass then an evaluation by a pediatric audiologist is necessary. Sometimes the problem is due to an ear infection – some times it is permanent. Only testing will confirm hearing ability and the cause if there is a problem.

This hearing evaluation cannot be done accurately or completely at your child’s doctor’s office.

To learn more about hearing evaluation and childhood hearing loss from the national Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program go here.  To download a handout on what to do next, click here.

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