A hearing screening is a test to tell if an infant might have a hearing loss. Hearing loss can affect a child's ability to develop communication, language, and social skills. The earlier children with hearing loss start getting services, the more likely they are to reach their full potential.
The hearing screening is done by placing a small microphone in your baby's ear. This screening takes about 15 minutes and does not hurt the baby (often the infant sleeps right through the screening). You will get the results of the hearing screening before you leave the hospital. This procedure is only a screening tool and is not used to diagnose hearing loss. If your baby does not pass this screening, it does not mean your baby has hearing loss. It means that your baby needs further testing or evaluation.
Left unfound or undetected, hearing impairments in infants can negatively affect speech and language skills; academic achievement; and social and emotional development. If found or detected, however, these negative effects can be reduced or even stopped through early intervention. For additional information, visit Baby Hearing.
The signs and symptoms of hearing loss can vary for different children. If you see any of the following signs in your baby, call your child's healthcare provider:
An audiologist is a kind of healthcare provider who takes care of people who have a hearing loss. An audiologist will be able to diagnose your child and will explain what you need to do next.
Seeking early intervention services for hearing loss as soon as possible is very important. Rhode Island's Early Intervention (EI) Program is designed to help families support the growth and development of their infants and toddlers, birth through age three, who are delayed in their development or have a diagnosed condition known to cause developmental delay. Additionally, the Northern Rhode Island Collaborative’s Auditory Oral Foundations works to improve and expand technologies for young people with hearing impairment. The Rhode Island School for the Deaf educates students in American Sign Language, the common language of most Deaf people in the United States, along with English. Finally, Perspectives Corporation provides culturally and linguistically affirmative resources, education, and support for people who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing (D/HH).
The Rhode Island Parent Information Network (RIPIN) is staffed by parents who have children with special needs of their own. Rhode Island’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (RI-EHDI) Resource Specialists through RIPIN bring years of personal experience as parents of children with hearing loss. They can provide guidance and support to you and your family as you navigate the often-confusing world of communication choices and education for the deaf and hard of hearing. The RI Medical Home Portal offers additional reliable resources and a one-stop-shop of information on hearing loss (see the “For Families” section). The National Hands and Voices (H&V) is a parent-driven, non-profit organization dedicated to providing unbiased support to families with children who are deaf and hard of hearing (D/HH). H&V does not promote specific communication choices or methodologies. If you wish to connect with the Rhode Island Local H&V Chapter, please visit their Facebook page or email email@example.com. Additionally, EHDI-PALS is a web-based searchable national directory that helps families, healthcare professionals, and state public health organizations find pediatric audiology expertise for children ages birth to five. EHDI-PALS links people to information, resources, and services for children with hearing loss. At the heart of EHDI-PALS is a national web-based directory of facilities that offers pediatric audiology services to young children.
Try different approaches to find what works best for your child and family. There is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution.
As a parent, you may refuse newborn hearing screening (en español) for your baby only if your religious beliefs and practices do not allow this testing. If you refuse to have the test done, you will be asked to sign a paper stating that you refused to have your baby tested.
We oversee the Rhode Island Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program (RIEHDI), which is designed to identify hearing problems early through newborn screening and diagnosis. Rhode Island newborns are screened for hearing loss before they leave the hospital after birth. Infants found to have hearing loss are referred to services in the community and provided with high-quality care and support.