A small soft-tipped earpiece has been injected into a newborn baby's ear for the hearing screening.


The newborn hearing screening test is done soon after the baby is born.

A health care provider will place a tiny earpiece or microphone in the infant’s ear. Another method uses electrodes that are put on the baby’s head while the baby is quiet or asleep.

Permanent hearing loss can significantly affect babies’ development. Early diagnosis can give these babies a better chance of developing language, speech, and communication skills.

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A male doctor is holding a baby with professional attire and stethoscope.
One to two babies in every 1,000 are born with permanent hearing loss in one or both ears. This increases to about 1 in every 100 babies who have spent more than 48 hours in intensive care. Most of these babies are born into families with no history of permanent hearing loss.
Primary Testing


Process: A small soft-tipped earpiece is placed in the baby’s ear and gentle clicking sounds are played.

It’s not always possible to get clear responses from the first test. This happens with lots of babies and doesn’t always mean the baby has a permanent hearing loss.

It could mean:

  • The baby was unsettled when the test was done or there was background noise
  • The baby has fluid or a temporary blockage in their ear

In these cases, the baby will be offered a second test.

Secondary Testing


The AABR test involves placing 3 small sensors on the baby’s head and neck. Soft headphones are placed over the baby’s ears and gentle clicking sounds are played.
This test takes between 5 and 15 minutes. These tests won’t harm the baby in any way.

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