Newborn Hearing Screening

More than 2,000 children are born with a hearing loss in Canada every year, making it one of our country’s most common birth defects for which screening is available.

Approximately six in every thousand babies born in Canada have some degree of hearing loss, including profound deafness.

Hearing health begins with screening for hearing loss at birth. Without screening, the average age of identification of hearing loss has historically been between 2 ½ to 3 years of age, making it difficult for many children to catch up with communication and social skills. Early diagnosis and intervention can profoundly and positively impact a child’s success, both in the classroom
and in life.

Newborn hearing screening is a gentle, non-invasive test that can identify a potential hearing problem at birth or shortly after. Babies identified with a hearing loss will then experience early intervention, so that the crucial communication development in their early years is not compromised. THFC supports the screening for all children as early as possible.

Signs of Hearing Loss in Children:
  • Your child’s “baby talk” is not progressing or their speech/language development is delayed or difficult
  • They complain that their ear(s) hurt, or they have frequent ear infections
  • They have difficulty locating sounds
  • They often speak too softly or too loudly
  • They turn up the TV volume to an excessively high level
  • They have behavioural or academic problems; often classified as being inattentive or disruptive, especially during listening activities
  • They often ask, “What?”
  • Their speech sounds different or they don’t speak clearly
  • Their language is characterized by a reduced vocabulary where words are often missing endings

Research shows that when babies are diagnosed and treated for hearing loss by six months of age, their language levels are higher with no evidence of developmental delays as seen in children who are diagnosed after six months.