Hearing tests vitally important for newborns' development

Testing equipment for newborns is so delicate, even the sound of a pacifier can register.
Testing equipment for newborns is so delicate, even the sound of a pacifier can register.

MADISON, AL (WAFF) - Little Bailee Lou Ann Black is voicing her displeasure about her first hearing test. Her cries are quickly comforted by Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Renee' Colquitt. Colquitt also administers the one-day-old baby's hearing test.

"Three out of a thousand children in the U.S. suffer from hearing loss. And so it's important for us to catch that early on while they're in the hospital, so that we can get intervention to those children that do have some form of hearing loss within the early months of their life, before they're affected by speech and developmental delays," explained Colquitt.

Proud new father Brett Black is happy with the results. "It's very comforting to know that my child's hearing was screened and that it came out good. That's something I won't have to worry about in the future."

The testing machines are so delicate with what they're trying to find, even when a baby is sucking on a pacifier, the sound of the pacifier can register on the equipment.

Bailee passed her test, but some children don't, and Colquitt says the next step is to be seen by a specialist. "They go to either to see an audiologist, a pediatric audiologist and we usually like to see those babies seen within a couple of weeks," she said.

The reason behind that, again, centers around speech development.

As Bailee cries, Colquitt rubs the child's head with a gentle stroke.

While a soothing touch is calming here, Colquitt says sound can have the same effect. "They hear mother and father's voice while they're in utero so those voices especially can have a soothing effect on those babies."

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