Family Magazine

Failed Newborn Hearing Screening – My Daughter’s Story

By Upliftingfam @upliftingfam

Audiologist Performing ABR Hearing TestOnce I received news that my daughter failed her repeat newborn hearing screening, we were quickly referred to the local children’s hospital and to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor for further evaluation.  Things moved fairly quickly and my daughter was scheduled to have another type of hearing test to determine how much hearing loss she had so that they could determine what course of action that we needed to take.  The next hearing test was more extensive and my daughter had to be sleeping or very still during the test.

Disclosure:  This post is for informational purposes and shouldn’t replace appropriate medical advice from a doctor or audiologist regarding your child’s hearing.  The information that I provided was based upon my own experience with my daughter’s hearing loss and the process that I went through.

The next step after a failed newborn hearing screening using an Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) machine is to have an advanced hearing test done called an Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR or ABR test), this measures the hearing differently and can predict how much a newborn hearing or not hearing.  An ABR test, is a quick test unless your baby doesn’t cooperate and sleep through the test.  Then it might take a bit longer.

I remember the day that I took my daughter to the local Children’s Hospital to have another hearing test done.  The audiologist greeted us and led us down a long white hallway to the room where she was going to perform the test.  As the audiologist, was leading us down the hallway we had a brief conversation and we were discussing the reason that why my daughter was having a hearing test done.

When we get to the room, the audiologist leads us into a quite and dark room.  I remember that the room was tranquil, relaxing, and calm.  The room was lit with a small lamp, that provided just enough light to allow the audiologist the ability to see what she was doing to perform the hearing test.  There was a rocking chair in the room so that mom’s could rock their newborn to sleep.

The room was dark and tranquil to create a calm and relaxing atmosphere so that a newborn would relax and if your lucky he or she will sleep through the procedure.  As the audiologist preps my daughter for the test, she begins sticking lead wires on my daughter’s head.  Then she plugged the lead wires into her fancy machine and inserted a probe into my daughter’s ear.  The test went smoothly and fairly quickly.

After the test was completed, the audiologist confirmed my worst fear.  She tells me that the ABR confirms that my daughter has a severe to profound hearing loss in both ears.  The audiologist and doctors wanted to schedule a repeat ABR, just to make sure that nothing changes over the next few weeks and to confirm the diagnosis again.

A few weeks later, we went through the whole procedure again and the repeat ABR test confirmed that my daughter was deaf.

After the ABR tests, I took my daughter to the ENT doctor to ensure that there wasn’t anything physically wrong with her ears that could be causing her hearing loss.  The doctor took a look at my daughter’s ears.  He didn’t find anything physically wrong with her ears that would cause her to fail a hearing test, such as wax build up, fluid in the ear, or another deformity of the inner ear.

Healthcare professionals were somewhat reluctant to help us figure out what the next step would be because we were planning on moving in a few weeks.  However, they were willing to send documentation with me and help me find a provider who could help us once we got settled into our new home.

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Did your newborn fail the newborn hearing screening?  If so, did you have to have an ABR test done?

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