Studies show about one to two in every 1,000 babies have a significant hearing loss. Therefore, starting treatment and support at that early stage is extremely important for the baby’s development.
The hearing screening test allows babies who have hearing loss to be picked up in the first few weeks after they are born.
However, the screening test is usually done in the hospital, within the first few weeks of their life. The hearing test will be done before you are discharged from the maternity unit.
In some areas, the test will be done at home. Your midwife or screener will be able to tell you where and when the screening test will take place.
Babies develop hearing during gestation, in some cases, they develop around the 24th week. At this stage, they are getting used to certain noises in their environment. And at some point, the noises tend to get less of a reaction.
For instance, a sound familiar to your home, such as siblings running around, will not arouse much of a response from a baby who has heard those sounds for weeks.
The truth is, there is little you can do at home to discover a baby’s hearing range. However, there are a few informal hearing tests that can be done during their first year that can alert you to any problems (if there is any).
Before we talk about the test you can follow through with your baby at home, let’s look at common causes of hearing impairment in babies.
- Exposure to high-decibel noise
- Premature birth
- Birth defects
- Family history of deafness
Below are a few things to do to test your baby’s hearing at home:
1. Keep your baby in a sitting position; in a place where you can clap your hands behind his / her head. A loud clap coming from outside of the baby’s view will definitely startle him.
If he reacts with a small jump or cry when you clap loudly, it means that his hearing is fine. If necessary, repeat the test a few more times.
2. Observe your baby’s head movement. As they gain control of their body movement and can look around their environment, stand at one side of the room and call his name.
You don’t have to call out so loud. She should know your voice by now; therefore, she will seek out the sound with her eyes. When she does, it means her hearing is fine.
3. When your baby is about 10 months, include picture books in play. Go over the pictures and tell him the word each picture represents. For example, point to a picture of a car and say the word “car.”
Do this for some time and after a few times, when you say car, your baby should be able to point to the picture of the car. When he’s able to do this, it shows that he not only heard the word, but he also understood the meaning.
Even though the screening test was done at the hospital and it showed that your baby’s hearing is fine, there’s nothing wrong in doing this home test too.
So, if your baby does not pass the hearing test, quickly take your baby to a hearing aid centre or specialist who can run further tests.
Once you know the problem with your baby’s ear, you will likely be offered help finding hearing aids that suit the child’s needs. The product will depend on the size of the baby’s ears and the severity of the issue.
Visit a hearing aid centre in Malaysia today, if you are not sure about the hearing condition of your baby.