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Diagnostic Hearing Testing - What to Expect

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Some babies need follow-up testing after being rescreened.  Those babies will be referred to an Audiologist to receive diagnostic testing.  This test will confirm your baby's hearing level and determine whether or not they have hearing loss.  There are resources available for families with a child who needs diagnostic testing.  This page should help to answer any questions you may have in accessing these resources .

Diagnostic Hearing Testing

The hearing test should be done by a Pediatric Audiologist. This is a person trained to test hearing and to follow-up with you and your baby.

How Do I Arrange Testing?

If you have insurance:

  1. Call your insurance company.

  2. Tell them your baby needs a diagnostic newborn hearing test.

  3. Ask if there is anything special that must be done to get the test paid for by insurance.

  4. If a referral is needed, call the baby's physician for a referral to an audiologist who is a provider for your plan.

  5. Call an audiologist who is a provider for your insurance plan and arrange the test.

If you are having difficulties making arrangements for a diagnostic newborn hearing test or do not have insurance:

  1. Call the Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) at 1-800-322-3722 Ask for the phone number of the DSCC office nearest to your home. Call your local DSCC office.

  2. Ask for names, addresses and phone numbers of audiologists who can do this test. If you have All Kids or Medicaid, ask the staff to help you find a Medicaid/All Kids provider in your area who can do newborn hearing testing.

  3. Call one of the audiologists and arrange a date and time for the test.

If you need help paying for the diagnostic newborn hearing test:

  1. Call the Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) at 1-800-322-3722. Ask for the phone number of your local DSCC office. Call and tell them you need help paying for a diagnostic newborn hearing test.

  2. DSCC can pay for diagnostic newborn hearing tests when you have no other resources. DSCC also pays for medical care and hearing aids for eligible families.

  3. DSCC can answer questions, give information and help you get services you and your baby need. DSCC can help you find an audiologist or medical provider who can work with Medicaid and All Kids. DSCC can also help you if you are having problems getting services through your insurance plan.


Contact DSCC at 1-800-322-3722 Voice/TTY or

Testing Terms

Audiology Testing Terms Image - printer friendly version above

Types of Tests

  • Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) - The ABR, also known as BSER or BEAR, is an objective test that looks at the auditory pathway from the ear to the brainstem. Testing is completed when the child is asleep or sedated. Prior to testing small areas on the forehead and by the ears are cleaned. Then electrodes are placed on these areas. Next small earphones are placed in the infants ears. The earphones present sounds that vary in loudness and pitch to the child's ear. These sounds produce an electrical response from the brain when the child hears the sound. An ABR will show a child's hearing ability at different pitches.

  • Behavioral Testing - watching the child for a behavioral change when a sound is presented. The change may be if the child stops crying, sucking or feeding. The response is judged to be present or absent by the parent and tester.

  • Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs) - can be tested using TEOAEs - transient otoacoustic emissions - or DPOAEs - distortion product otoacoustic emissions. This test is often used as a screening measure to see if the child is hearing through the level of the cochlea, the small snail-shaped part of the ear. A small probe tip is placed in the baby's ear canal. The probe sends a signal to the cochlea. If the cochlea is working the way it should a echo is measured by the probe. If the child has debris in the ear canal, fluid in the middle ear or a hearing loss an echo will not be measured.

  • Acoustic Immittance - tests used to assess middle ear function; includes tympanometry, acoustic reflex thresholds and acoustic reflex decay.

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