Newborn Hearing Test

27/04/2021 Pediatrics

Dr. Daniela Aguirre



Deafness represents one of the main problems at birth and disability in children.

The incidence is 1 to 3 newborn babies per 1,000 and 6 to 7 children per 1,000 who have permanent hearing loss identified in early infancy.

The reasons for which this condition can occur are varied, among which we can mention:

  • Hereditary Factors. 
  • Premature babies.
  • If mom had a high-risk pregnancy.
  • If there was fetal distress during delivery.
  • If there was hypoxia or perinatal asphyxia (that is, shortness of breath in the baby during pregnancy or labor/birth).
  • If the baby required neonatal intensive care.
  • If the baby was underweight at birth.
  • If the baby had an Apgar score under 7.
  • If the baby had jaundice (yellow skin due to accumulation of bilirubin in the blood).
  • As a reaction to the administration of certain ototoxic medications during birth (mainly antibiotics or diuretics).
  • As a consequence of diseases suffered by the mother during pregnancy (for example, rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes, toxoplasmosis).

After birth, certain diseases could cause damage to the ears of children and babies, such as otitis, mumps, measles, meningitis, or even trauma. For example, excessive noise from hearing aids can cause long-term issues. 

In newborns, it is a condition that is generally difficult for parents to detect since it can take up to several months for the baby to really interact with his environment; even in older children, hearing loss could be confused with distraction or laziness typical of babies, that is why this condition generally goes unnoticed. Like many other conditions, deafness can be well managed as long as early detection is made to avoid developmental limitations, especially in language and learning.

Fortunately, a simple test allows a fast, safe and reliable detection to be made to ensure that your baby hears well. This test can also be performed in older children, either because they missed the test as newborns or to rule out hearing problems derived from illnesses or accidents.

This test is called a Newborn Hearing Test

For newborns, t is suggested that the test be performed from birth to 3 months.

The test is done by placing a small hearing aid in the baby's ear; it is painless. This hearing aid is connected to a specialized mini-computer to emit certain sound waves and wait for a "bounce" response typical of the human ear; what is achieved with this is registering the baby's hearing capacity and verifying that it is within the normal parameters.

The test is done in the office and takes no more than a standard pediatric consultation.

At Costamed, we have state-of-the-art equipment; for this test, we have a Madsen brand otoacoustic emissions equipment, which works both for the neonatal hearing test and older children, with immediate results. 

We highly recommend this test for all newborns regardless of risk factors that can lead to deafness in babies.

If you are interested in knowing more or making an appointment with me, I am at your service in Costamed Playa del Carmen.


Learn more about Dr. Daniela Aguirre by clicking here.