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How is my baby's hearing screened in the hospital or birth center?

There are two ways to screen a baby's hearing. Both ways are comfortable, take only a few minutes and are done while your baby is sleeping.

  • Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) uses a special computer to measure how well your baby's hearing nerve responds to sounds that are sent to your baby's ears through earphones or ear tips.
  • Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) uses a special microphone and computer to measure the response of your baby's ear to soft sounds that are sent through earphones or ear tips.
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The Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention Program of the PA Department of Health (PA DOH) helps families by ensuring that newborns receive a hearing screening no later than 1 month of age and providing education and support. PA DOH also works to ensure that babies who do not pass their hearing screen receive a diagnostic evaluation by an audiologist no later than 3 months of age and that babies who are diagnosed with a hearing loss are enrolled in Early Intervention no later than 6 months of age.

Find out more about the Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention Program

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