Hearing loss, practically or fully, can be the result of genes. It sometimes run-in families. The health care provider will thoroughly examine your young ones’ hearing closely. If they detect any suspicious signs, they start treatment immediately so the baby can live a healthy life.
Mostly, when the baby is born in a hospital, they immediately get a newborn hearing screening test before discharging. Conversely, the condition can go undetected and untreated if a baby is born at home. It is essential to get the newborn hearing screening within the first few weeks.
If you do not have the facility for newborn hearing screening and wonder how you can do it at home, you are in the right place. This article aims to discuss how to test a newborn hearing screening at home without professional tools.
What is Hearing Loss?
It is a health condition in which the entire ear or any single part of the ear does not work in the normal way. The severity of the trouble hearing can range such as:
Mild: At this level, the baby can listen to speech sounds, but the light sounds are usually challenging to comprehend.
Moderate: This is a severe condition in which the baby cannot hear many speeches when someone is communicating at an average level.
Severe: It is an intense condition in which a baby cannot hear the normal conversation but usually responds to loud noises.
Profound: It is an extreme condition near deafening. In this condition, the baby can only hear very loud voices, like someone is shouting.
Partial or full hearing loss is a common congenital disability in many newborns. When a newborn has a hearing loss condition, it is known as congenital hearing loss. It can be present at the time of birth or develop during childhood or at the later age.
What are the Common Signs of Hearing Loss in Children?
These are some common signs of hearing loss:
Cannot hear loud noises
Baby does not turn to sound even after reaching the age of 6 months.
Response of some louder noises but not to lighter note conversation.
He does not utter a single word when he is expected to say mama or baba.
Give a response when he sees you instead of when you call him.
How can I tell if the Baby Hears?
There are different factors that affect the baby’s response. It includes the development stage, severity of hearing loss, and age. If the baby does not respond, it does not mean he cannot hear.
He does not generally respond to softer voices when a baby is under six months. At this stage, it isn’t easy to detect. When they hear a voice, they might widen their eyes or might make some movement while sleeping.
Different sound levels trigger various kinds of responses in babies depending on how active and ready to play they are. When the babies are feeling dizzy and dosing with sleep, at this time, they respond to even slight noises.
It also depends on the type of sound you are playing. Kids find some sounds fascinating and respond early while they keep ignoring if the voice is boring.
Observing baby at home
Many people do not have the facility to get their babies checked for hearing loss. It is challenging to determine how a baby responds to the voice. However, you can still get lots of information when you know what you need to look at.
The baby’s response to loud or soft voices depends on the degree of hearing loss. However, here are some common behaviors that determine whether your baby can hear or not.
0 – 28 days
At the age, the child best responds to:
Shows movement comes from nearby areas.
Wide open eyes and blink at sudden sounds.
28 days to 3 months
Baby reacts to pretty loud sounds.
Baby is eligible for many soft sounds
They smile or generally calm down when spoken to
They can recognize your voice and calm down if they are crying.
4 Months to 6 Months
Babies react to different tones of voices
Pay attention and enjoy the music
They follow the sounds with their eyes
They make a babbling sound
Like utter words and toys that make sounds
Can start crying at loud sounds
7 to 12 months
At this age, the babies are generally highly responsive.
They turn their head upon calling the name or other sound that is not even loud.
Listens carefully when the elders speak
Turn in the direction of the sound
Look around to find the new direction of the sound.
Actively turn and respond to new voices.
They begin to repeat the sounds.
These are the responses you can expect from the shield at different parts of the subject.
Take note of what your baby does
It is not a wise decision to do your initial hearing screening test because the responses widely depend on the mood and conditions. In case your baby is overly active and tired, he may not respond to the sounds you can expect.
Instead, you should always be ready to observe responses when it is quiet and your baby is not about to fall asleep or upset. You will witness clear and more obvious responses when not hyperactive or calm.
It is crucial to watch whether the response your baby is showing can be a visual cue instead of being well. If you clap your hands in front of the baby, it can be a cue that the baby is reposing.
However, here are a few questions that can help with your observation
What kind of different responses do you see?
Which baby sounds like or dislikes?
Is there any sound that can trigger a baby’s cry?
If your baby responds to soft and loud sounds equally?
Why is Newborn Hearing Screening Important?
It is one of the most important steps in figuring out whether your baby is healthy or has an auditory issue. Without newborn screening tests, it is impossible to evaluate your baby’s hearing conditions, which can be left untreated for years and ultimately lead to auditory impairment.
Infants who are deaf and face hearing problems need timely support and care, which is only possible after early intervention services. If the hearing status is not checked right after birth, it can affect the baby’s communication and language skills.
What Hearing Test is Part of Newborn Screening?
In-house screening tests are not reliable. Therefore, it is possible you need to take the baby to the hospital for a better diagnosis.
Auditory Brainstem Response
It is a useful test to measure the responses coming from the inner part of the ear, such as the cochlear. It is evaluated as the sound goes up to the brain.
To calculate the response, thick electrodes are set on the head of the baby, and minimal-sized earphones are set in, near, or around the ear. Different voices of altering frequency and pitch are played in the earphones, and electrodes measure if any response is recorded from the baby.
This is another useful method used for detecting a baby’s hearing loss. This method detects the response coming from the inner ear. In order to pass this test, the small-sized earbuds are placed in the ear of a child and are equipped with earphones and microphones.
Many different kinds of voices run through the earbuds and measure the responses received from the inner ear. If the ears of the baby are normally functioning or a bit of a problem is seen, an echo goes to the ear canal of the baby, which is generally measured with the help of a microphone. Conversely, no echo will be witnessed if the baby has auditory problems.
How Does Hearing Loss Affect a Baby’s Life?
Hearing loss not only affects listening skills, it directly impacts the child’s overall personality and entire life. It can affect life in different aspects:
Limited development of language and speech
Learning and social problem
How is Hearing Loss in Newborn Treated?
If you detect child’s hearing loss problem in your child, you need professional assistance. They can treat it by following various methods.
These implants are powerful tools that convert sound into electrical signals and then transfer them through the dysfunctional parts of the ear and transfer them to the brain. This is an effective implant that can be placed in the ear of a child of 12 months or maybe a bit younger.
These minimal-sized tubes are placed in the eardrum, allowing air in the center of the ear and preventing fluids from accumulating. A child requires ear tube treatment if:
He is facing hearing problems due to an ear infection.
The baby has fluid buildup and swelling near the eardrum.
The baby faces infection every other day.
This tool is useful for hearing loss in babies. It is designed to wear behind the ear for normal hearing. An experienced baby’s doctor can help you get a hand on the best hearing aid for disease control. However, you need to make sure that the tool fits securely as well as properly adjusted.
Hearing loss in newborns can happen due to different causes, including ear infections. In this case, the doctors prescribe some antibiotics. Some also prefer to run the baby on over-the-counter drugs to help her with pain and fever. The baby medicines come in the form of drops or syrup,
Learning special language skills
Speech therapy: It is a special kind of treatment that teaches your child to speak audibly and communicate in different ways. The experts and professionals can assist kids in learning to make different sounds and enhance interaction.
Sometimes minor surgeries can correct the problems with the middle and outer ear structure.
How can Hearing loss be Prevented?
Many kinds of hearing problems are genetic and cannot be prevented, but other kinds, such as hearing loss due to infections and premature birth, can be prevented. Anyhow, here is what a new mother can do to prevent it.
Make sure that your vaccinations are updated
Get a regular checkup for infections such as STIs
Get preconception checkup
Protect yourself from infections
Go to all of your parental care checkups.
Take your baby to all his check-ups
Get immediate treatment for baby’s ear infections
Keep the baby away from loud sounds
Hearing loss in newborn babies is a serious issue that should not be ignored. It is better to get the baby checked from the hospital, but if you do not have the facility, you can also observe him determine the hearing loss and its severity. If you detect any sign, you need immediate professional medical assistance.
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