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Newborn Hearing Screening

Roper St. Francis provides infant hearing screenings to help your little one get off to a healthy, happy start. The following guidelines will help you with questions you may have regarding your baby's hearing screen.

Why should my baby's hearing be screened?
Universal Newborn Hearing Screening regulations require all hospitals to screen newborns for hearing before discharge to detect hearing loss as soon as possible.

More than half of babies born with hearing problems are otherwise healthy and have no family history of hearing loss. It is important for you to be sure your infant has normal hearing because the first year of life is critical to the development of normal language and speech.

Unfortunately, hearing loss can go undetected for many years and can result in speech, language and cognitive delays.

Parents can refuse the hearing screen offered by the hospital during their stay.

How is my baby's hearing screened? 
At Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital and the RSF Mount Pleasant Hospital, we use Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) to screen your baby's hearing. Otoacoustic Emissions are measured directly with a miniature microphone and sent to a special computer to determine your baby's hearing status.

Screening your baby's hearing is painless, very safe and only takes a few minutes. Most infants will sleep through the screening.

You will be given a letter regarding the results of your baby's hearing screen before you leave the hospital.

If your baby does not pass the initial hearing screening in the hospital, we will schedule an appointment for a follow-up evaluation with an audiologist. It is very important that you keep this appointment. Reschedule the appointment as soon as possible if you are unable to keep the appointment that we schedule for you.

What if my baby does not pass the hearing screening?
Some babies will require a second evaluation of their hearing after discharge from the hospital for many different reasons. Sometimes babies are too active or too awake during the screening to get an accurate result. However, it is very important that you keep any follow-up appointments as recommended by the hospital in order to ensure that your baby does not have a hearing problem.

Early detection and intervention is important in order to make sure your baby has the best chance to develop normally. Babies who do not hear normally may have problems learning to talk.

Should I have my baby's hearing checked again if he/she passes the hearing screening in the hospital?
The hearing screening done in the hospital can usually confirm that your infant's hearing is normal at the time of the screening.

Hearing loss can develop later for many different reasons. If you ever have concerns regarding your child's hearing, speech or language, contact your child's doctor as soon as possible.

If you have a family history of hearing loss, your baby should have his/her hearing tested every year. 
Sometimes questions don't arise until after you and your baby are home. Your pediatrician can answer questions about your baby's unique health needs. You may also call the St. Francis Hospital Nursery at (843) 402-1035 or the RSF Mount Pleasant Hospital Nursery at (843) 606-7632.

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