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Hearing Evaluation Facts

  • A follow up hearing evaluation is scheduled when the baby did not pass the second hearing screening at the hospital

  • This test is very important in order to find hearing loss

  • Babies who do not pass their hearing screening need more complete testing before they reach 3 months of age

  • A hearing evaluation is safe and painless

  • Hearing evaluations may be scheduled by the hospital or birthing center

  • Hospitals and birthing centers will provide a list of audiologists close by that do hearing evaluations

  • Finding hearing loss early is important so babies can learn to communicate and develop language skills

  • The Infant Hearing Program will work with the PCP to obtain hearing evaluation results

  • The Infant Hearing Program will contact families if the hearing evaluation has not been completed by three months and six months.


A follow up evaluation includes a number of tests. These tests will help the audiologist find hearing loss. Some or all of these tests may be completed. All of the tests all diagnostic and not screening tests which give more detailed information about your baby’s hearing.

The three most common tests used during a hearing evaluation are Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) testing, Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) testing and tympanometry.

Diagnostic Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE): This test uses small, soft foam or rubber tips. These tips are placed inside the baby’s ears and the baby hears soft sounds. Small echoes are recorded from the baby’s ear to see if there is good function in the inner ear.

Diagnostic Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR): This test uses three small patches are placed on the baby’s face, shoulder and neck, then small headphones placed over the baby’s ear or small ear tips are placed in the baby’s ears and the baby hears soft sounds. This test records information from the hearing nerve. There are several types of ABR that may be used at the follow up evaluation.

Tympanometry – This test looks at your baby’s middle ear. A small probe is placed in your baby’s ear and the air pressure is gently changed. The results shows whether or not there is an ear infection or fluid in the middle ear. Sometimes fluid can prevent getting accurate hearing results. More testing may be needed or sometimes a referral to the baby’s doctor or ENT is needed.


  • After the testing is completed, the audiologist will talk about the tests that were completed and share the evaluation results with the parents

  • If a hearing loss is confirmed, the audiologist will talk to the parents about the type and  degree

  • If a hearing loss is undetermined, more testing in needed to find hearing loss

    Diagnostic Staff

  • Information about hearing, speech and language milestones will be provided to families

  • Resources about early intervention services will be provided to families

  • Resources on how to connect with families of children with hearing loss will be provided to families

  • Parents will receive resources on non-biased communication options

  • Approximately 5% of babies in Ohio who do not pass their newborn hearing screen are identified with a permanent hearing loss.