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Your baby’s
For more information
If you have any questions about the
hearing screening program, or if you
are anxious about your baby’s screening
results at any stage, further information
and advice is available from:
Newborn and Children’s Hearing
Universal Neonatal Hearing
Screening Program
Monday to Friday (during
business hours)
Telephone: 8303 1585
Or you can view the Universal
Neonatal Hearing Screening Program
web page at:
Non-English speaking: for information
in languages other than English, call the
Interpreting and Translating Centre and ask
them to call The Department of Health.
This service is available at no cost to you,
contact (08) 8226 1990.
© Department for Health and Ageing,
Government of South Australia. All rights reserved.
Reprinted July 2015. (Digital Media 5033 EDITION 3)
Information for parents
of newborn babies
Why does my baby need
a diagnostic assessment?
If your baby does not show a clear result
during the newborn hearing screening
process, a diagnostic assessment will be
arranged. There may be a number of reasons
why your baby’s hearing screening was not
able to rule out a hearing loss. It could be
>> Your baby was unsettled during the
hearing screens.
>> There was fluid or a temporary blockage
in your baby’s ear after the birth.
>> Your baby may have some degree
of hearing loss.
Picking up hearing loss at an early age
provides the best opportunity to assist your
child’s speech and language development
and future learning.
What will happen
at the assessment?
The aim of the diagnostic assessment is
to obtain a more complete picture of your
baby’s hearing.
The evaluation will include a number of tests.
Each test will check a different part of your
baby’s hearing system These will give detailed
information about how your baby hears.
An audiologist, who is a specialist in hearing
testing, will carry out the tests. None of the
tests hurt your baby. As there will be a lot of
information given about your babies hearing
we encourage both parents to be present at
the assessment.
How do I prepare my baby
for the assessment?
It is best if your baby sleeps during the diagnostic
assessment. It is helpful if feeding and sleep can be
delayed on the day until you are at the appointment.
Arrive a little early to give yourself time to feed and settle
your baby to sleep.
If you have other children at home, please arrange to have
someone mind them, so that you can stay with your baby.
As the diagnostic assessment includes more tests than
in the initial screen you should be prepared to set aside
the morning or afternoon, depending on when your
appointment has been scheduled.
How is the diagnostic assessment done?
This diagnostic test is called the Auditory Brainstem
Response (ABR) test. Sensors will be placed on your baby’s
head and sounds will be played through headphones or
earplugs to your baby.
Your baby’s responses to the sounds are recorded
electronically and will determine the softest levels that
your baby can hear.
What will happen after the tests?
The audiologist will be able to inform you of the results and
explain what the results mean, usually on the same day. If
your baby is found to have a hearing loss, you will be referred
to the appropriate specialist and intervention services.
Each year around 50 babies in South Australian are
diagnosed with a permanent hearing loss. A report will be
sent to these services and copies sent to you and your
doctor with your consent. The audiologist will assist you
and your baby to get the services and support that you may
If your baby is found to have normal hearing but at a later
stage you become concerned about your child’s hearing,
speech or language development, please arrange to have
your child’s hearing tested again.
Hearing can be tested at any age.
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