Newborn Hearing Screenings

Schedule a hearing screening at the University of New Mexico Hospital. We are home to one of the only in-hospital newborn audiology teams in New Mexico.

It’s important to complete a screening as soon as possible, as a hearing problem can cause delays in speech and language skills. Early identification can help your baby receive the care he or she needs to learn how to communicate.

All babies born at UNMH receive a newborn screening. Call 505-272-9613 if your baby was born elsewhere and you need a screening.

Testing Procedure

We use an automated auditory brainstem response test. Small electrodes are placed on baby’s head to measure how the hearing nerve responds to soft clicking sounds. The test is harmless and gives results quickly.

If the test shows that your baby has trouble hearing sounds, your pediatrician will connect you with services that help your baby learn how to communicate. Early detection of hearing loss has been shown to improve a child’s speech and language development.

Risk Factors for Hearing Loss

Children may need a follow-up evaluation at 12 months if there is a concern about a developmental delay. Your child may be at a higher risk for hearing loss later in infancy if he or she has:

  • A family history of childhood hearing loss
  • A neonatal intensive care stay of more than five days
  • Craniofacial abnormalities, especially those affecting the ear
  • Head trauma
  • In-utero infections such as herpes, CMV, rubella or syphilis
  • Meningitis
  • Neurodegenerative disorders, such as Hunter syndrome

Developmental Milestones

Every child develops at his or her own pace, but a baby’s hearing and communication abilities generally progress in stages. Use these guidelines for a general overview of how your child should be progressing.

If you think you child has hearing loss or a developmental delay, schedule an appointment with a UNM pediatrician.

By three months of age, your baby should be able to:

  • Blink, jump or startle at loud sounds
  • Smile when spoken to
  • Increase or decrease sucking in response to sound
  • Coo and gurgle

Baby should now:

  • Move eyes toward the source of sounds
  • Start babbling in a speech-like way
  • Notice when toys make noise

Leading up to baby’s first birthday, he/she will:

  • Turn head in response to sounds
  • Understand words for common items
  • Respond to simple, spoken requests