Newborn Hearing Screening

Babies learn by imitating. They learn to talk by imitating the sounds they hear. Babies born with a hearing loss cannot hear sounds clearly. For them, learning to talk is a very slow and difficult process.

The first two years of a child’s life are the most important for speech and language development. That’s why it’s important to detect hearing problems early. The state of Oregon requires that all newborns are given a hearing test soon after they are born.

What can I expect?
Using Automatic Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR): Your baby will hear a series of clicks through a small set of head phones. This will automatically measure your baby’s auditory brainstem response to the sound while your baby is sleeping or quiet and calm.

What if my baby does not pass the hearing screen?
Your baby will be given up to two screens before given a “pass” or “refer” result. At some hospitals, your baby may go home before the second screening is done. In this case, an appointment will be made for you before discharge. If your baby does not pass the screen twice, you will be referred to a diagnostic audiology clinic for further evaluation.

Some children lose their hearing at an older age. This type of loss may be caused by numerous ear infections, other serious infections, chronic illness or a family history of hearing loss. If you ever have concerns about your child’s ability to hear or speak, you may talk with someone one of our diagnostic clinics listed below. If you have other concerns about your child’s growth or development, talk with your child’s care provider.

Audiology clinics:
Providence Children's Development Institute – West Portland
Providence St. Vincent Medical Center

Providence Children's Development Institute – East Portland
Providence Child Center