Hearing screening services provide hearing testing for infants and children.
Testing is conducted at various sites including hospitals, hearing clinics, health units, and schools. If required, referrals to the audiologist or family physicians are made.
BC Early Hearing Program
One in every 300 babies born in BC has hearing loss. If it's caught early, much can be done and problems with developing language skills can be avoided. That's why the BC Early Hearing Program , which includes hearing screening, is working to screen all babies born in B.C. hospitals. Most babies in BC have their hearing screened before they go home from the hospital. For babies who were not screened in the hospital, hearing screening is offered at your local audiology (hearing) clinic or community screening clinic.
The test is not painful or uncomfortable for the baby, and you will get results right away. In most babies, it is clear that their hearing is fine and you can get peace of mind. Many babies, however, will need follow-up testing. This does not necessarily mean that there is anything wrong. In most cases it simply means that a clear reading wasn't possible. There may have been too much background noise, for example. However, it's important to go to all of your follow-up appointments so that if there is any hearing loss, your baby can get help right away.
Monitoring infants to 18 months
Your baby likely already had a first hearing test in the hospital. You can keep monitoring your baby's hearing at home. Your baby should be doing at least a few of the following:
- Startle and/or cry at loud sounds,
- Smile when there are friendly voices,
- Look toward sounds,
- Recognize his or her parents' voices, or
- Notice toys that make sounds.
If your baby isn't doing these things, that doesn't necessarily mean that something is wrong, but you should speak to your health-care provider about your concerns. If there are problems, it's important that they're caught and treated early.
VCH audiology services offers comprehensive hearing services for children aged 0 to 19.