About Hearing Screening
Newborn Hearing Screening
If a baby does not pass the newborn hearing screening at the hospital or birthing site, it is very important to return for a follow-up hearing screening. Not passing the hearing screening does not mean your baby has a hearing loss, but follow-up screening is a step closer to identifying if a baby has a hearing loss. Some babies are born with certain high risk factors for developing a hearing loss. Your baby may pass the hearing screening before discharge from the hospital or birthing site, but if your baby was born with high risk factors, it is important for your baby to get a diagnostic audiological evaluation (DAE) by 6 months of age or sooner, if recommended by your doctor.
Procedure for Newborn Hearing Screening
Newborn hearing screening is conducted using special equipment. On Guam, the first step in hearing screening is to use the Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) screening equipment. A sensitive microphone is placed in the baby’s ear canal. This procedure is quick, easy, non-invasive, and does not hurt the baby. It is done when the baby is sleeping or very quiet. Many babies sleep through the process, which takes less than 2 minutes. The equipment records the ear’s response to sounds.
If the baby does not pass the OAE screening, the next step would be to use the Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR) screening equipment. This procedure involves placing electrodes on the baby that would record the responses from the brain when sounds are sent to the baby’s ears.
The Guam Early Intervention System
Early intervention services are family-centered services and supports that help and assist families in meeting the overall developmental needs of an infant or toddler (birth to three years old) and the family.
On Guam, a program under the Guam Department of Education, called the Guam Early Intervention System (GEIS) provides the following Diagnostic, Family Support, and Intervention services and support to infants, toddlers, and their families:
- Newborn Developmental Screening
- Developmental Evaluation
- Hearing Evaluation
- Speech/Language Evaluation and Services
- Physical/Occupational Therapy
- Play-Based Therapy
- Social Work Services
- Nursing Services
- Transition Services
- Assistive Technology
- Family training, counseling, and home visits
- Medical Services (only for diagnostic or evaluation purposes)
- Health Services
- Special Instruction
- Vision Services
- Transportation and related costs that are necessary to enable a child eligible under Part C and the child’s family to receive early intervention services.
Steps to Receiving Early Intervention Services
First Steps: Getting Started in GEIS
Intake / Screening
An intake is an initial contact made with the family or other community members who have a concern about the development of a child. A doctor is required, by law, to refer a child to GEIS within two days if a delay is suspected.
- Information is gathered about the child, and parents’ consent to evaluate the child is obtained.
- Evaluation / Assessment
- An evaluation or assessment is conducted to determine if the child is eligible for services. The family is involved with the evaluation process.
- The evaluation(s) will be reviewed and eligibility for the program will be determined with the family.
Next Steps: GEIS Services
- Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) Meeting
- An IFSP is a written plan for providing early intervention services for your infant or toddler. This plan is required within 45 days of the referral.
- Delivery of Services
- The child begins to receive services, as written in the IFSP. A 6-month and annual review of IFSP is conducted to determine if the plan needs to be updated and to review the child’s progress.
- Need for Change in Services or Re-Evaluation/Assessment and Ongoing Delivery of Services
For more information about the Guam Early Intervention System please call 300-5776 / 5816, or visit their website at sites.google.com/a/gdoe.net/geis/.
Importance of Follow-Up Hearing Screening
Newborn hearing screening is a procedure conducted before an infant is discharged from the hospital or birthing center. This is a standard of care for all babies born on Guam, just like getting the baby’s weight, measurements, and temperature. Newborn hearing screening identifies if a baby might have a hearing loss.
Some babies are born with certain high risk factors for developing a hearing loss. Your baby may pass the hearing screening before discharge from the hospital or birthing site, but if your baby was born with high risk factors, it is important to bring him back for a follow-up testing by 6 months of age.
3 Types of Hearing Loss
Conductive Hearing Loss
Occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the tiny bones, or ossicles, of the middle ear. It usually involves a reduction in sound level, or the ability to hear faint sounds. This type of hearing loss can often be medically or surgically corrected.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear (retrocochlear) to the brain. It cannot be medically or surgically corrected and is a permanent loss. This type of loss not only involves a reduction in sound level, or the ability to hear faint sounds, but it also affects the ability to hear clearly and understand speech.
Mixed Hearing Loss
Sometimes a conductive hearing loss occurs in combination with a sensorineural hearing loss. This means that there may be damage in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve.
Hearing and Speech Milestones
What is a developmental milestone?
Developmental milestones are a set of functional skills or age-specific tasks that most children can do at a certain age range. Your pediatrician or primary health care provider uses milestones to help check how your child is developing. Every child is unique. Therefore, although each milestone has an age level, when a developmental milestone is achieved varies from child to child.
Risk Factors for Hearing Loss
If you have concerns about how your baby responds to sounds or your baby has risk factors for later-occurring or progressive hearing loss, discuss this with your baby’s doctor. If your baby was identified with one or more of the following high risk indicators, please call Guam Early Intervention System (GEIS) at (671) 300-5776 to schedule a FREE diagnostic audiology test, BEFORE your baby is 6 months old. If any risk factor shows up later that was not present before, please call Guam EHDI at that time as well to assist with your baby scheduled for diagnostic audiology testing.
Family Support Group
The Guam EHDI Family Support Group is made up of parents with children ages 2-10 who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families. The Group has been meeting since 2004 and has been sharing joys and tribulations to help meet the challenges they face.
For more information or to join the group, contact one of the family leaders below:
Mobile: (671) 689-5738
Ann Marie Cruz
Mobile: (671) 777-7991