Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program (VIHSP)Locations:
Your baby will have a number of routine health checks soon after birth. A newborn hearing screen is one of those checks. It’s a free, quick and simple way to check your baby’s hearing.
The newborn hearing screen identifies whether your baby needs to go on to have a full hearing test. In Victoria, newborn hearing screening is done by the Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program (VIHSP).
A small number of babies are born every year with a hearing loss. As they grow, this hearing loss can affect their developing speech and language skills, so early identification and assistance is important.
Hearing loss might not be obvious in the first few weeks of a baby’s life, but the hearing screen can usually detect it. Early detection means all families can get good advice and support from the beginning, giving babies with a hearing loss the best possible start in life.
What to do before
We try to screen babies as soon as possible after birth, as long as they are well and settled.
What to bring
Your baby’s green folder – My Health, Learning and Development.
What to expect on the day
The screen usually takes less than 10 minutes. You are welcome to stay with your baby and you can hold or breastfeed your baby during the screen. Some babies might not get their screen before they leave hospital. If your baby is not screened before you go home, we will contact you to arrange a suitable time to do the screen.
During the screen, the hearing screener will place small stick-on sensors onto your baby’s forehead, shoulder and back of the neck, along with soft ear cups over both ears. These will be attached to an automated auditory brainstem response (AABR) unit.
This check is harmless for your baby. Soft clicking sounds are played into your baby’s ears, and the stick-on sensors detect your baby’s response to the sounds.
You will be given the result of the screen as soon as it is completed. This is recorded in your baby’s growth record (green book). The results may suggest that your baby needs to have another newborn screening test or be referred for more detailed testing by an audiologist. Being referred for more testing does not necessarily mean that your baby has a hearing loss.
Hearing can change over time, so it is important you pay attention to your baby’s hearing as he/she grows. If you are concerned about your baby’s hearing, speech or language development, you can arrange another hearing test.
For health professionals
Automated auditory brainstem response (AABR) hearing screening is performed for all infants born in Victoria. The Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program (VIHSP) performs this service.
If a baby is not screened prior to discharge, the family will be contacted to arrange a suitable time for the screening test to be performed.
How to prepare the patient
If there are other concerns regarding hearing, further detailed audiology testing can be arranged.
What/when you should refer to us
Internal referrals of all babies born/cared for at Mercy Hospital for Women.
What/when you should not refer to us
External referrals as requested by Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program.
Mercy Hospital for Women
163 Studley Road
Heidelberg Victoria 3084
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