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Old 04.04.2012, 14:26
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Baby hearing impairment: looking for help

Hi all,

my four months old boy has been failing the generic hearing test since birth. We had four different tests, three in the hospital and one just a week ago and he only had 1 pass on one hear (last test in the hostpital). When we repeated the test last week, he failed on both sides.

However the ORL says she is "convinced" the baby can hear, but it's difficult for me to see how this is possible as the tests are constantly failing.

Also, while in the first two months he was giving sign of hearing (e.g. reacting to a sudden and loud noise while asleep and formulating the first syllables, like ghe and gu) this stopped at the beginning of the third, which is why we repeated the test.

I am now totally confused and don't know where to bang my head so I am reaching out for help, specifically:
- is there anyone who had a similar experience and if so did you receive any explanation on why tests are failing apart from "I am convinced he can hear"
- is there anyone that can suggest the name of a good ORL doctor/ center for diagnosis for babys? We live in Zurich but no issues with travelling.

Thanks so much!
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Old 04.04.2012, 16:16
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Re: Baby hearing impairment: looking for help

We had same problem with our first child. He failed all tests at birth and in the first week of birth. We had to get it checked at 2 months. Even then it failed. Then they asked for detailed test at University Hospital. He showed poor results and in the next round they measure the efficiency of each ear. He could manage 65%.

Home observations can get highly uncertain in babies. For instance, at one instance there was a balloon burst, with big noise and our little one was unaffected completely and kept sleeping.. while we all were on our toes. However, we now see him talking non-stop and hearing all that could be ignored

I would advise you to keep calm and keep talking to the baby. Check for his responses. Does he moves his eyes and head in the direction of sound. Does he sometimes smile in his sleep with some music or singing from parent.

However also get the efficiency measured. I do not remember the exact name of the test, but could check and tell you.

PM if you need more details.

Good luck to you and your LO.

Last edited by Tauras; 04.04.2012 at 16:18. Reason: some necessary correction
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Old 04.04.2012, 16:25
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Re: Baby hearing impairment: looking for help

The tests are quite notorious for giving fails to babies that can hear.

Have you done a longer test where they sleep in the hospital for 45 minutes ?

I'm sure that you can ask your Paediatrician for another referral...or maybe whether there is someone in particular who they can send you to at the Kispi.

The problem with hearing loss is that it can be in mild or severe forms, and it can have different features.

What I know 'in theory' is that babies make the same sounds until around 6 months, when they reduce to just the sounds that match the language environment around them - profoundly deaf babies end up making 'vibratory' noises but not 'speech' sounds...but that's between 6-12 months... at 4 months it's a little early to tell...

On the other hand, a friend of mine has two children who are profoundly deaf. The younger one had a cochlear implant done at 9 months - amazing!
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Old 04.04.2012, 16:38
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Re: Baby hearing impairment: looking for help

I agree that if you are concerned about your baby's hearing that you should see your pediatrician. They should be able to give you a referral to an audiologist who specializes in testing hearing loss in babies. The problem is that the first test that generally gives reliable results (in a sound booth with baby on your lap) isn't typically done until the baby is of the age to turn his head towards a sound (around 5-6 months) and some audiologists would even encourage you to wait longer.

I'm passionate about this subject, and fully believe that parents should trust their own instincts if they believe that there is a hearing problem. I'm a certified Deaf Education teacher back in the States and have seen many children struggle in school because their hearing loss went unidentified for far too long. In all likelihood there is no hearing issue (those infant screenings can be wildly innacurate), but IF there is, the sooner you can start getting intervention on your child's behalf the better it will be for him and your entire family.

Keep us posted as you continue through this process and feel free to PM me if you have any questions. I'll try my best to help you out!
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Old 04.04.2012, 16:52
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Re: Baby hearing impairment: looking for help

We have a similar but reverse issue - our baby failed the first test in hospital which was done by the midwife, but passes the tests in the Kinderspital (baby sat on lap and observed with different sounds) but despite 3 passes we still feel there is something wrong with her hearing as she doesnt react to us entering the room when she cant see us, respond to speech, toys with noises etc.

Your child's doctor should refer you to the specialists. In our case that was at the Kinderspital in Zürich. The last test was on the low side of normal and due also to our concerns we are referred to a brain stem response test in the University Hospital in ZH, but the person doing the tests is ill at present so we've been waiting since Jan. We're now going for a further test in the Kinderspital and will get a hearing aid if again on the low side.

By the way in the hospital the midwives clearly didn't have the training to use the equipment and always got a fail. So go to the Kinderspital if you haven't been - they know how to use the equipment, are very pleasant and helpful and can refer you for further tests etc.
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Old 10.04.2012, 13:42
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Re: Baby hearing impairment: looking for help

I wanted to thank you so much for sharing your experiences and suggestions: sorry I didn't answer before, but needed some time to think :-)
We now have an appointment towards the end of the month at the Kinderspital for another test, and if that one is still doubtfull, we will go for the one where they'll put our little one to sleep, so that we'll finally have an idea of what we are dealing with. Thank you again!
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Old 10.04.2012, 14:00
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Re: Baby hearing impairment: looking for help

We are in the same position as you - ours is 1 month, and has failed tests since birth. He is off for yet more tests with the specialists in Luzern on Thursday.

We are also very worried, but are heartened sometimes by his reaction to some noises. If he can hear something, we know there is some light at the end of the tunnel, even if there is significant surgery and/or technology involved, and he doesnt gain normal hearing.

Afterall, I was the same, and even today with significant hearing loss in both ears, I can operate normally.
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Old 10.04.2012, 14:13
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Re: Baby hearing impairment: looking for help

And in our experience, when your baby is old enough to have the full range of the hearing tests (in our case just under 1 year old), they are extremely accurate and will give you a categorical answer. Which in many cases of other infant problems you never get .. so at least you know you have the reassurance of tests that will tell you exactly what is what.

In our case, hearing was 100%. It turned out to be something quite different. Reaction to noise (more precisely lack of reaction) can be a symptom of many things and you are right as SignLanguageMama says to pursue your parental instinct as in our experience, our instinct has never been wrong (and both children had health/developmental problems .. so my instinct has been tested to the limit ..)

For all of you awaiting test appointments/results - the very best.
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