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Hearing Screening

In Newborns
Hearing screenings are performed routinely on newborns at the hospital to detect rare instances of congenital deafness. If Lucy passes the test, it means she can hear. But even if she fails, it doesn’t necessarily mean she can’t. These tests are difficult to perform accurately in a noisy nursery setting. Your doctor will repeat the test in better circumstances. There is also the old-fashioned way to know whether Lucy can hear: Just clap your hands loudly and see if she blinks or if she turns her head toward you. And in the weeks to come, you should also notice her responding to your voice.

In Older Children
Hearing screenings should be performed at every regular visit after infancy. The older and more cooperative the child, the more reliable the test will be. But accuracy is limited before three years. Hearing tests are performed even more frequently on children who have recurrent ear infections with ear fluid trapped behind the eardrum, in order to monitor hearing loss [See: Ear Infections].