Why should my baby’s hearing be screened?
Babies learn to talk and communicate through hearing sounds and words from you and those around him/her. If your baby has a hearing loss, it may interfere with his/her ability to speak and communicate. Hearing screening allows you to know if your baby has a hearing loss so you can get the appropriate intervention services as soon as possible.
Is there a fee for newborn hearing screening?
No. The law mandates newborn hearing screening as a standard of care for ALL newborns on Guam. The screening is part of the routine care given to babies at birth, just like taking their weight and temperature.
What if my baby fails the hearing screening?
If your baby fails the hearing screening, it does not mean he or she is deaf or has a hearing loss. It just means your baby needs further testing. Your baby will be referred to the Guam Early Intervention System (GEIS) for further hearing evaluation. It is important to keep your baby’s hearing evaluation appointment to find out if your baby has hearing loss. Some babies need to be tested again even if they pass the first screening. Some babies may have certain risk factors that may cause a hearing loss, as they grow older. These babies need to have a hearing evaluation at 6 months of age, so discuss this with your baby’s doctor for a referral to an audiologist.
What are the risk factors that might cause my baby to have a hearing loss?
- Family history of hearing loss
- Born before or during the 30th week of pregnancy
- Birth weight was less than 3 lbs
- Experienced a lack of oxygen after birth
- Needed a machine to help him/her breathe
- Spent 48 hours or more in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or had complications while in the NICU
- Head, face, or ears shaped or formed in a different way than usual
- Head injury
- Infection that was present at birth or shortly after birth
- Jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia) needing special procedure (exchange transfusion)
- Was given medication for cancer chemotherapy
- Has had an infection around the brain and spinal cord called meningitis
- Has a condition (neurological disorder) that is associated with hearing loss
- Frequent ear infections