Newborn Hearing Tests For Babies in Massachusetts

Diagnosing Infants With Hearing Loss in Massachusetts

Hearing test for babies? Yes! In Massachusetts every baby has had their hearing tested before they leave the hospital since the law was passed in 1998. With new testing equipment, and laws mandating hearing tests of all infants, we are identifying children with hearing loss in infancy.

About 1300 babies do not pass the initial hearing screening in the hospital. Appointments are made to have follow-up appointments to retest the child within a few weeks. If a child truly has a hearing loss, and can properly be diagnosed, then intervention and support for the family can begin.

Families need support to find their way through appointments at the doctor’s office, and the audiologist’s office. Also speech pathologists will become involved to help with speech and language development.

Families will be helped with the Early Intervention Program. This program connects families through educational and social events. The program in Massachusetts is designed to help families connect for a proper diagnosis and intervention.

Within three weeks a child visits the audiologist to have another hearing test. For most babies, the second test shows no hearing loss. However, if a loss is diagnosed, then follow-up appointments are made to fit the child with hearing aids or to talk about the possibility of a cochlear implant.

About 220 babies are diagnosed with hearing loss every year in Massachusetts.

Families with children with hearing loss need support from other parents, and professionals. Parents will need counseling on the care of hearing aids. Many hours of speech and language therapy will be routine. Hearing loss is occurs in about 3 per 1,000 babies according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Hearing loss is even more prevalent among babies admitted to the intensive care unit.