Newborn screening is the frontline service which assesses babies who may need further diagnostic testing. Infant diagnostic testing then provides a more comprehensive evaluation and outcome.
Hearing impairment is the most common disability in Australia. One to two babies in 1000 are born with a hearing loss in both ears. Early diagnosis of hearing loss is the key to successful early intervention. Babies who are detected early can access further testing quickly and parents can access support and information. Children whose hearing loss is identified early and who begin early intervention strategies before six months of age, have the best chance of developing age appropriate speech and language.
A newborns hearing is tested by a specially developed screening device which uses Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR) technology to test your baby’s hearing. Small sticky tabs are placed on the nape of the baby’s neck, shoulder and forehead. Small headphones go over each ear and the baby hears a soft clicking sound. The AABR machine measures responses from your baby’s hearing nerve on each side. The test is accurate, quick and reliable. It is safe, painless and most newborns sleep through the test.
It is incredibly important to test newborns at an early age. Without early intervention, hearing loss can lead to severe lasting speech and language impairment and lifelong consequences in communication, cognition, behaviour, emotional development, educational outcomes and later vocational opportunities and life skills. There is potential for considerable lifelong costs to the family, individual and community.
To book an appointment you can either self-refer or gain a GP referral.