To screen babies and young children for hearing
problems that might interfere with their ability to learn, speak, or understand
United States Preventive Services Task Force
recommends that all newborns be screened for hearing loss.1 All 50 states require newborn hearing tests for all babies
born in hospitals. Also, many health organizations and doctors' groups
recommend routine screening. Talk to your doctor about whether your child has
been or should be tested.
To screen children and teens for
hearing loss. Hearing should be checked by a doctor at each
well-child visit. In children, normal hearing is
important for proper language development. Some speech, behavior, and learning
problems in children can be related to problems with hearing. For this reason,
many schools routinely provide hearing tests when children first begin school.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a formal hearing test at ages 4,
5, 6, 8, and 10 years. 2
To evaluate possible
hearing loss in anyone who has noticed a persistent hearing problem in one or
both ears or has had difficulty understanding words in
To screen for hearing problems in older adults.
Hearing loss in older adults is often mistaken for diminished mental capacity
(for instance, if the person does not seem to listen or respond to
To screen for hearing loss in people who are
repeatedly exposed to loud noises or who are taking certain antibiotics, such
To find out the type and amount of hearing loss
(conductive, sensorineural, or both). In conductive hearing loss, the movement
of sound (conduction) is blocked or does not pass into the inner ear. In
sensorineural hearing loss, sound reaches the inner ear, but a problem in the
nerves of the ear or, in rare cases, the brain itself prevents proper
How To Prepare
Tell your doctor if you:
Have recently been exposed to any painfully
loud noise or to a noise that made your ears ring. Avoid loud noises for 16
hours prior to having a thorough hearing test.
Are taking or have
taken antibiotics that can damage hearing, such as gentamicin.
had any problems hearing normal conversations or noticed any other signs of
possible hearing loss.