Hearing screenings are available for all age groups. Screenings are fairly quick, and serve to reduce the need for full hearing evaluation and to identify hearing loss as early as possible. thekolemangroupscreen In many areas, these screenings are available to newborn infants! Older children and adults may be able to get a screening through the school systems, physician’s offices, and local health fairs.
Newborns and infants
Many hospitals screen hearing of newborns during the hospital stay following birth. Screening is easy, quick, and painless. While the child is resting or sleeping, a very quick screening procedure (Otoacoustic emissions screening and/or auditory brainstem response [ABR] screening) is completed. Using these screening measures, hearing loss of 30 decibels (dB) or greater in the speech range (from 500-4000 Hertz [Hz]). At this age, failing a screening does not provide a definitive diagnosis of hearing loss. Fluid from the womb or middle ear fluid may be present, creating a false fail during the screening. A second screening may be performed before the child is discharged from the hospital or a follow-up with an audiologist in the area may be scheduled to confirm any screening results.
If a follow-up with a pediatric or general audiologist is scheduled, a more thorough hearing evaluation may be completed. Depending on the outcome of initial tests, this evaluation can take a much longer time to complete. Results should be more thorough, but failed tests may still not mean permanent hearing impairment. Follow-up appointments will be made to continue this process until a definitive diagnosis can be made.
Screening of infants is extremely important for early identification of hearing loss. Without early screenings, hearing loss may not be detected until after age 1. The later the hearing loss is diagnosed and managed, the greater the likelihood of delayed speech and language development. Delayed speech and language can, in turn, impede academic abilities in school-age children.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) covers appropriate screening and identification of hearing loss. If you are interested in a screening, contact your local public school system or health department. Free screenings and services may be available to your child.
Hearing loss does not always occur in infancy or young childhood. It can occur later in life. Not all who have hearing loss were born with hearing loss. If there are concerns for you or a loved one regarding hearing, do not hesitate to request a screening or evaluation from a physician, audiologist, or hearing instrument specialist.
Children and Adults
Older children and adults typically encounter screenings during public health testing (e.g., school screenings, physician’s office, health fairs, senior centers). Initial screening is completed with a pure-tone evaluation of 25-30 dB from 500-4000 Hz. If a screening is failed, the individual will be recommended to complete a more thorough hearing evaluation to confirm findings. Some individuals and websites advertize their ability to test your hearing via a website interactive plug-in or by phone. It is difficult to screen hearing ability in these situations, and not advisable over an actual hearing screening performed by qualified individuals.
Dr. Dena J Riso, Au.D. is the owner of Peninsula Hearing Center. As a native San Diegan and Audiologist who has worked with the hearing impaired for ten years, Dena prides herself on continuing to care for the community she calls home. Her experience includes a variety of healthcare settings from private practice to hospitals.
Personally, Dena enjoys spending time with her husband, two daughters and four dogs. Taking part in all that Southern California has to offer, she also loves the beach, biking and swimming. Dena J Riso, Au.D. is a licensed Doctor of Audiology and certified Hearing Aid Dispenser with the state of California.