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Infant Hearing Program

This program includes universal newborn hearing screening, high risk monitoring and services for children identified with a permanent hearing loss in Windsor Essex and Chatham Kent.

To learn more about the Infant Hearing Program check the link below:

 http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/earlychildhood/hearing/index.aspx

 All newborns can be screened.

The program is designed to provide the opportunity for all newborn babies to have their hearing screened.  Babies will have access to the Universal Hearing Screening process in the following locations:

  1.   Hospital Pre-discharge - Well Baby Screening
  2.   Hospital Pre-discharge - High Risk Baby - Neonatural Intensive Care Units (NICU) screening.
  3.   Community Clinic Screening and High Risk Monitoring. 

Hospital - Pre-discharge - Well Baby Screening

The modern technology used to screen your baby's hearing is completely safe and reliable.  He or she will probably sleep comfortably through the whole experience.  There are two stages to the screening process:

  • Stage One uses equipment called Distortions Product Otoacoustic Emissions (DPOAE), which consists of a small earphone in the ear and sounds are played through it, and from this the ear's response is measured and recorded.  This process takes about five minutes.

  • Stage Two uses equipment called Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR) and is done only if the result from Stage One suggests the need for further screening.  Stage Two testing uses a similar earphone in the baby's ear, but will also include three electrodes, one placed on the forehead and one behind each ear.  The electrodes assist in acquiring more accurate results.  This process takes about 20 minutes and will determine whether your baby needs a full hearing assessment to be completed by an audiologist.

Hospital - Pre-discharge - High Risk Baby Screening

Babies who stay in a special care nursery or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) will also be screened before discharge from the hospital.  These babies are screened with AABR equipment as described in Stage Two above.  The AABR equipment is used because babies who spend more than 48 hours in NICU are considered to be at a higher risk for hearing loss.

Community Clinic Screening and High Risk Monitoring

Community clinics are available for those babies who were not screened in the hospital, and for those who need a follow up visit.  Babies may need a follow up visit if the first result was 'refer'.  Also, all babies who were considered at risk and passed the screen, return for follow up visits. 

The visits are done at community clinic locations.  Call 519-252-0636 if you have any questions. 

Screening will give a pass result or a refer result.

Most babies will receive a pass result at either Stage One or Stage Two, which means their hearing is fine as assessed at the time.  Babies who receive a refer result will need more thorough examination.  Most babies who receive a refer result have perfectly normal hearing; slight colds or fidgeting during the screening are the most likely reasons for a refer result.

The only way to be sure is to have a hearing assessment performed by an Audiologist.  The IHP will help you set up an appointment with an Audiologist who is an expert in assessing the hearing of babies.  The IHP will also offer support to the family throughout the process of identification and follow up supports and services should they be needed.

Watch your child for signs of hearing loss

There is a small chance that your baby might develop a hearing loss during early childhood.  Hearing loss can cause delays in speech and language development.  It's never too early to help your child learn language.  The Ministry of Children and Youth Services has a brochure Can Your Baby Hear?  This guide can help you monitor your baby's development.

Check the MCYS website for the following brochures:

http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/earlychildhood/hearing/moreinfo.aspx

Can Your Baby Hear is available in several different languages:  English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tamil, Urdu, Vietnamese

Another publication that is available on the website is a brochure Services For Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.  This brochure is also offered in English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tamil, Urdu, Vietnamese