Audiology and Audiological screening of newborns
Meaning of “Audiology”
Audiology (Latin audīre -. Hear from the Greek -log -λογία -. Apprentice, -logia)
– a branch of science that studies the ability to listen and keep the balance, and also related diseases.
Using various examination methods (i.e. hearing tests, otoacoustic emission measurements, vestibular examinations and electrophysiological tests),
the audiologist determines whether the patient’s hearing is within normal limits, and if not, which frequencies (high, medium or low) amazed and to what extent.
Audiology is a treatment that facilitates the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss, auditory processing disorders and balance disorders.
The audiologist can do tests to identify problems and determine therapies. If the use of a hearing aid or other device is required, an audiologist can help find the right device for your child’s needs.
Certain drugs and cancer treatments can damage your hearing. It is important to have your hearing checked regularly to notice changes in time.
Hearing affects speech, social relationships, learning and school performance. Prompt treatment can help patients better cope with hearing loss.
Prompt treatment can help children with cancer better cope with hearing loss.
Finding an Audiologist
Audiologists are certified medical professionals with a degree in audiology. They work in a variety of institutions, including hospitals, clinics and schools.
Talk with your doctor if an audiologist can help your child. Most insurance companies cover the cost of hearing impairment research.
Audiological screening of newborns
Audiological screening is an objective method for examining hearing and allows you to quickly identify various pathologies of the hearing organs.
Who needs to be examined and why?
Audiologic screening should be performed on all newborns in the first days of life.
This allows for early detection of hearing impairment and early rehabilitation of the child to increase his chances of a healthier and more productive life in the future.
What is a newborn audiological screening program?
The infant audiological screening program is designed to test the hearing of babies immediately after birth.
The state program of European countries allows for testing the hearing of babies in hospitals and maternity hospitals.
About 95% of hearing tests are done before you leave the hospital or maternity hospital.
If for some reason the newborn does not pass the test, he is referred to a specialist for further hearing testing.
Types of research:
- Screening OAE (otoacoustic emission) – is a general examination.
- Clinical OAE – is more detailed. It is carried out based on specialized audiological centres.
- Tympanometry – allows you to study all the features of the functioning of the middle ear.
- ABR – Registration of short-latency auditory evoked potentials – is the most accurate objective diagnosis of hearing.
During the audiological screening, the optimal method for detecting hearing loss in a newborn is used – registration of evoked otoacoustic emission, or VOAE.
The value of the method is that it detects even a slight hearing loss and registers almost all deviations in the development of each ear section.
The main advantages of audiological screening include:
- No discomfort.
- Non-invasive procedure.
- Quickness – the procedure takes approximately 3-5 minutes.
- It has no contraindications.
How is the audiological screening performed?
Hearing testing is a two-step process.
The first stage is carried out in the maternity hospital, the recommended time for the test is 4-5 days after birth since hearing loss is not recorded in some children before this period.
If the child has not been screened in the maternity hospital or is at risk, then he will be examined at 4-6 weeks of age.
If the test result is negative, then it is repeated in a month and a half. If hearing impairment was confirmed with this test, then this is an indication for a complete clinical examination of the child (tympanogram, and ABR).
The second stage of screening is carried out when the child turns one year old, regardless of the results of the first test.
Re-examination is vital for children at risk! Healthy children are also attracted to it since hearing loss can develop slowly and show itself only at the second stage of screening.
Modern methods of rehabilitation and prosthetics allow you to completely restore or at least correct the child’s hearing as much as possible.
It is important for parents to contact specialists on time – so that they help your baby to develop correctly!
It is important to identify even a slight hearing loss since in young children it leads to a delay and impairment of speech development.
Already with 1-degree hearing loss (20-40 dB), at which an adult may not experience speech perception problems, the child does not hear its quietest components in ordinary speech – deaf, hissing, sibilant consonants, word endings, prepositions, prefixes.
This complicates the child’s mastery of speech, disrupts the perception and understanding of speech in noisy conditions, and, as a result, leads to a delay in the general mental development of the child, since speech is not only a means of communication but also a means of understanding the world.
As the world experience shows, mass prophylactic screening examinations are of great importance in identifying hearing impairments in children at an early age.
The main task of screening audiological examinations is to identify children with suspected hearing impairment and refer them to audiological centres for diagnostic examination in order to determine the degree of hearing loss and the level of damage.
A diagnostic examination is carried out to determine the type of impairment and the degree of hearing loss, as well as to obtain an audiogram used to adjust the hearing aid.
Screening methods must meet several criteria:
- be safe (non-invasive);
- be easy to use;
- do not take a lot of time;
- be inexpensive;
- be highly sensitive (ideally, identify all children with hearing impairments among the surveyed);
- have high specificity (ideally, identify all healthy people as screened).
Different methods are used as screening examination methods in different countries:
- interviewing parents about the child’s auditory and speech development;
- registration of behavioural unconditioned and conditioned reflex reactions to sounds;
- registration of otoacoustic emission (UAE);
- registration of short-latency
- be easy to use;
- do not take a lot of time;
- be inexpensive;
- be highly sensitiinstem) or stationary auditory evoked potentials.
If you like this article do check our blog about sign language too