How can I determine if my infant can hear normally?
Posted by Melinda on June 21, 1999 at 13:34:07
I have a 5 week old infant who doesn't seem to hear normally. He does not respond to loud noises, and does not turn his head to the sound of my voice. He also doesn't seem to be interested in eye to eye contact with me. Is there a way to determine if he can hear anything? Is there a way for me to determine if this is something I need to ask our family doctor about or not? What can be done to help him if he has a hearing problem?
Posted by HVM Ph.D. - KDK on June 23, 1999 at 07:04:36
Our pediatrician will be responding directly to your question, but we wanted to take a minute to urge you, by all means, to speak to your son's pediatrician. That should be your first recourse. You have an important worry; you needn't feel hesitant or reluctant to speak directly with the health care providers on whom you rely.
Posted by HVM M.D. - EV on June 24, 1999 at 22:28:44
DEAR MELINDA -
THANK YOU FOR YOUR INQUIRY.
FIRST OF ALL - CONGRATULATIONS ON THE BIRTH OF YOUR SON. WITH REGARD TO YOUR CONCERNS, I WOULD ENCOURAGE YOU TO SPEAK TO YOUR PEDIATRICIAN OR FAMILY DOCTOR ABOUT YOUR BABY. THERE IS A TEST FOR HEARING IN NEWBORN INFANTS WHICH CAN BE DONE EASILY. "BRAINSTEM EVOKED RESPONSE AUDIOMETRY" - OR "BSER" CAN HELP IDENTIFY ANY HEARING LOSS SUSPECTED IN VERY YOUNG CHILDREN. IT IS USED TO EVALUATE FOR PERIPHERAL HEARING LOSS, AND IT IS NONINVASIVE.
IF YOU SUSPECT A HEARING LOSS - IT IS IMPORTANT TO DO THIS TEST.
LIKEWISE, IF THERE IS ANY SUSPICION OF POOR VISUAL RESPONSE - DO HAVE YOUR PEDIATRICIAN OR FAMILY DOCTOR EVALUATE YOUR BABY. EVEN CONSIDER A REFERRAL TO A PEDIATRIC OPHTHALMOLOGIST IF THERE IS ANY QUESTION.
FINALLY, IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW THAT SOME BABIES DO NOT REACT TO SOME SOUNDS AS A WAY TO ACCOMMODATE, OR ADJUST, TO STIMULI. YOUR BABY MAY BE ENTIRELY NORMAL. BUT, AGAIN, I WOULD ENCOURAGE YOU TO FOLLOW UP ALWAYS ON YOUR CONCERNS.
GOOD LUCK- DR. EV
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