A hearing screening is a test to tell if an infant might have a hearing loss. Hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to develop communication, language, and social skills. The earlier children with hearing loss start getting services, the more likely they are to reach their full potential.
TEOAE, the most common technique, takes place in the hospital and involves the placement of a small ear probe in the baby’s ear canal. In the ear probe are transmitter and receiver components. The transmitter sends out a series of click sounds that then travel from the ear canal, through the middle ear, to the inner ear which, in a healthy ear, produce an "echo" in response to these incoming click sounds. The "echo" travels back out to the ear canal where the response is recorded.
A second screening method, the automated auditory brainstem response is completed on infants for whom the TEOAE cannot be performed or whose TEOAE screen does not meet "pass" criteria; this screening provides an electrophysiological measure of the hearing pathway along the auditory nerve. Small sensors are placed on the baby’s head and earphones are also used.