Newborn-Infant Hearing Screening Programs are designed to identify hearing loss in infants shortly after birth. Hearing loss is one of the most common congenital anomalies, occurring in approximately 3 out of every 1000 infants. The state of Arkansas has implemented screening protocols within hospitals and birthing clinics and recommends that every baby have a hearing screening. (About 95% of hearing screening tests are done prior to discharge from the hospital or birthing clinics.)

What happens if my child failed the Newborn Hearing Screening or did not receive one at the birthing hospital?

If your baby is referred for more testing, it does not necessarily mean they have a hearing loss. The most common reasons an infant may need additional testing include:

  • Infant was too “fussy” at original screening
  • Middle ear fluid or infection
  • An ear canal blocked with debris
  • A permanent, mild or greater hearing loss

It is important that you return for the follow-up screening test before 1 month of age.

The Newborn Hearing Screening Program at Arkansas Children’s is available to re-screen the infant’s hearing if the infant does not pass the original hearing screening. If the infant was never given the Newborn Hearing Screening prior to discharge from the birthing hospital, we can also provide the original screening. If the infant does not pass the second hearing screen and middle ear fluid has been ruled out, then he/she is referred to one of our pediatric audiologists for diagnostic testing. This ensures that referrals are made in a timely manner to provide your baby with appropriate treatment and care. If your baby is referred for a diagnostic audiologic evaluation, it is important to have the evaluation as soon as possible.

We want to get the message out that it is "never too early" to determine how a baby hears. If undetected and untreated, hearing loss can lead to delayed speech and language development, social and emotional problems, and academic failure. By detecting hearing loss during the newborn period, families can be informed of their child's hearing status and effective treatment can be immediately initiated. Our program has been recognized as a national leader in the area of early detection of hearing loss, setting the standard for early diagnosis of infants in the state. We utilize the most advanced available computerized technology to develop an individualized amplification plan, including digital hearing aids, assistive listening devices and cochlear implants. Timing is everything--any child’s hearing can be evaluated with a high degree of accuracy.