Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) Testing for Infants

Auditory brainstem response (ABR) is used to test newborns, infants, and children who cannot complete a typical screening test, which requires an understanding of instructions and the capacity to respond.
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) Testing for Infants

Being able to identify hearing loss in infants allows audiologists and others involved in treatment the ability to begin addressing hearing challenges by the time your child is 6 months old.

Through early diagnosis and intervention, your baby’s spoken language development is able to keep pace with the development of other babies of the same age who are not experiencing a hearing loss.

To make sure that we catch hearing loss as soon as possible, Denton Hearing Health Care uses ABR testing for newborns and young children so we can limit the effects of hearing loss on your child’s development.

How ABR Testing Works

The ear is made up of three parts: the outer, the middle, and the inner ear. The auditory brainstem response (ABR) test evaluates how the inner ear, called the cochlea, and the brain pathways for hearing are working.

Sometimes called an auditory evoked potential (AEP) test, ABR tests are used with children or others who cannot complete a typical hearing screening or if symptoms might be due to hearing loss in the brain or in a brain pathway.

It begins with the placement of electrodes that are stuck to your child’s head. These electrodes record brain wave activity in response to sounds that are transmitted through earphones while your child is resting quietly.

For babies, ABR testing is either pass or fail. Should the baby fail the test, he/she will be tested again or recommended more other forms of testing.

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What Do the Test Results Mean

What Do the Test Results Mean?

A newborn who hasn’t passed the initial hearing tests may not necessarily have an auditory loss. About 90% of newborn babies who don’t pass their first screening pass their second test. Initial hearing test failures can be related to too much wax, vernix, or fluid in the ear.

Consequently, we follow three result scenarios after an infant hearing test, including:

  • Two or more tests determine that your infant does have some hearing loss in one or both ears. It is critical for treatment to start within the first six months of life in order to provide an adequate opportunity for learning how to speak and acquiring language skills.
  • Your baby may have passed the newborn hearing screening, but he/she could experience hearing loss later on in childhood. Consequently, if your child passes, your audiologist will still want you to monitor speech/language progress in order to catch the problem as early as possible.
  • A third scenario involves passing the initial screenings but with some indicators that your baby might develop a late-onset hearing loss due to genetic disposition, infections and illnesses, exposure to secondhand smoke, or NICU treatments. In these cases, the hearing exam will be repeated between 9 months – 1 yr.

Schedule ABR Testing for Your Baby

You’re in a race against the clock when it comes to addressing the critical issues of infant hearing loss. Early detection leads to the best intervention outcomes and allows your child to properly develop speech and language skills as well as ensure better socialization and academic performance as your child grows.

Our pediatricians at Denton Hearing Health Care are eager to provide answers and solutions to infant hearing loss through early detection and treatment. Contact us by using the adjacent form in order to schedule ABR testing for your baby.

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