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Early diagnosis and intervention for babies with hearing loss are essential to normal development. You should request that your newborn be screened for hearing loss before you leave the hospital. If newborn hearing screening is not available at your hospital, ask your doctor, "Why not? It is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and mandated in 22 states." Hearing loss from many causes can be present at birth; however, some types of hearing loss develop months or years after birth.
As your baby grows, he or she will reach certain milestones in language development. Failure to reach these milestones may mean your baby has a hearing loss or other language or developmental problems.
It is critically important that a child suspected of hearing loss be tested immediately. Hearing testing can be done at any age, down to newborns. Children do not "grow out of" hearing loss. If hearing loss is not addressed with hearing aids or cochlear implants, your child may suffer irreversible damage to speech and language development. This is the reason behind universal hearing screening.
If your child does not achieve these milestones on time, talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider about a hearing test.
Adapted from Hansen D, Howard SR, Facilitating Early Language, Vero Beach, FL, The Speech Bin, 1992