A hearing screening is a test to tell if an infant might have a hearing loss. Hearing loss can affect a child's ability to develop communication, language, and social skills. The earlier children with hearing loss start getting services, the more likely they are to reach their full potential.
The hearing screening is done by placing a small microphone in your baby’s ear. This screening takes about 15 minutes and does not hurt the baby. (Often times the infant sleeps right through the screening.) You will get the results of the hearing screening before you leave the hospital. This procedure is only a screening tool and is not used to diagnose hearing loss. If your baby does not pass this screening, it does not mean he/she has hearing loss. It means that your baby needs further evaluation.
The signs and symptoms of hearing loss are different for different children. If you see any of these signs, call your child's doctor or nurse:
As a parent, you may refuse newborn hearing screening for your baby only if your religious beliefs and practices do not allow this testing. If you refuse to have the test done, you will be asked to sign a paper stating that you refused to have your baby tested.
The Newborn Hearing Screening Program is designed to identify hearing problems early through newborn screening and diagnosis. Rhode Island newborns are screened for hearing loss before they leave the hospital after birth. Infants identified with hearing loss are referred to services in the community and provided with quality care and support.