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Newborn Hearing Screening Tests in the Philippines

One of the most critical parts of a child’s social, emotional, and cognitive growth involves their sense of hearing. Being able to hear properly hugely influences the way they develop their ability to learn at school and function socially. Imagine yourself as a child, being unable to hear the comforting words of your parents, the reminiscent songs on the Sunday radio, or the laughter of your fellow playmates. It’s just not complete without these sounds.

The condition of hearing loss doesn’t have to be severe to greatly affect a child’s growth. Just a small difference will already cause one to miss out on a lot of things. That’s why even when they are a few weeks or months old, it’s essential to act right away. The first step to finding the right tools and support for your child is to have them undergo newborn hearing tests in the Philippines.

What causes hearing loss in children?

If your child has been diagnosed with hearing loss, remember that the important thing is you’ve caught it early through a newborn hearing screening test. You might be wondering what causes hearing loss in children. Your child has a higher risk of having hearing loss if he or she:

  • Was born prematurely
  • Had high bilirubin or the orange-yellow pigment that is made during the normal breakdown of red blood cells
  • Was given hearing loss-inducing medications
  • Has a family history of hearing loss
  • Had infections such as meningitis
  • Was exposed to very loud sounds even for a brief period of time

What should I look out for?

When your child is unable to go through a hearing test early on, it can be difficult to detect hearing loss as they get older. You have to observe them as newborns, as babies, and even as children who can already walk on their own. Should you see any signs of hearing issues, you can have them checked through a pediatric hearing evaluation

Infants who have healthy hearing show the following signs:

  • Startle or jump when they hear sudden loud noises
  • Recognize their parents’ voice as early as reaching three months
  • Respond to a sound by turning their eyes or head as early as reaching six months
  • Can imitate simple words before turning a year old

As they grow into toddlers, you need to keep an eye out for the following:

  • Speech that is limited, poor, or no speech at all
  • Inattentiveness
  • Increased TV volume
  • Failure to respond to speech or inappropriate response

What is a newborn hearing test?

The newborn hearing test is a standard health examination provided shortly after your baby’s birth. Its purpose is to identify potential hearing loss in infants, as hearing is crucial for speech and language development. Timely diagnosis of congenital hearing loss is essential, enabling early intervention. Detecting hearing issues early on through screenings allows you and your healthcare team to implement strategies to enhance your child’s language skills and foster their social and emotional growth, ensuring a proactive approach to their overall development.

Newborn hearing test prices in the Philippines

The price of the newborn hearing test may vary, depending on where you will have your child screened or what type of test they will undergo. Typically, in the Philippines, hearing tests can have a price range of ₱650.00 to ₱5,000. You can talk to your chosen provider about what type of newborn screening you want to have for your child, so you can identify the exact cost of the evaluation.

What tests can my child undergo?

There are two types of hearing screening tests for newborn babies available in the Philippines. Both of them are painless, quick, and can even be done while the baby is sleeping.

1. Otoacoustic Emission Test (OEA)

This hearing test uses a tiny plug that is placed in the newborn baby’s ear. This plug has a microphone that records emissions of the normal ear as a reaction to the sounds. If there are no emissions, this shows that the baby is suffering from hearing loss.

2. Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)

This hearing screening test uses wires that are attached to the newborn baby’s scalp. As the baby is sleeping, clicking sounds are made through tiny earphones in the baby’s ears. What will be measured is the brain’s response to the sounds. This, like OEA, is very painless and can take only a few minutes.

Our newborn hearing test specialists

Our newborn hearing care specialists have been practicing locally and internationally for years and continuously undergo training to improve and update their knowledge with courses on customer service, product training, upselling certificates both locally, across Asia and even in Europe. 

The team at Active Hearing Center is to provide the best quality care for the young ones and that begins with our hearing care team.

Why is it important for newborn babies to undergo a hearing test?

Here are a few reasons why you should consider having your newborn baby undergo a hearing test:

1. Symptoms of hearing impairment in infants are not visible

Disorders don’t have symptoms and can only be detected through certain tests.

2. Hearing is essential for a child to be able to talk

The first three years of life can be considered the most vital period for the brain to acquire speech and language skills, as speaking is often learned by babies through imitation. Keeping an eye out for certain tell-tale signs is a good way to be ahead of the development of hearing loss.

3. Overall development can be affected by mild hearing loss

Hearing is only one of the fundamental skills needed not just by a child but also by adults. Hearing loss can greatly affect their speech, language, academic, and psychosocial development.

Did you know?

Under the Republic Act 9709, all Filipino babies are required to get tested for their hearing. This act can also be called “Act That Establishes Universal Newborn Hearing Screening for the Prevention, Early Diagnosis, and Intervention of Hearing Loss”. It states that before a baby is discharged from the hospital, he/she must undergo a hearing screening test first. For those babies not born in hospitals, they are required to be screened within the first three months of life.

Hearing loss is not something that is foreign to scientists and doctors. Solutions have been found to help those who are experiencing hearing loss such as the use of hearing aids. But don’t wait before it even worsens and causes more complications to one’s development. Again, early detection is better.

Frequently Asked Questions About Newborn Hearing Test in the Philippines

Though hearing screenings are not necessarily compulsory as soon as the baby is born. However, all Filipino infants must undergo hearing tests in accordance with Republic Act 9709. Commonly referred to as the “Act Establishing Universal Newborn Hearing Screening for the Prevention, Early Diagnosis, and Intervention of Hearing Loss,” this legislation underscores the importance of comprehensive hearing tests for early detection and timely intervention. As such, whether you opt for newborn hearing screening or pediatric hearing evaluation, it’s essential you have your child tested. 

Newborn hearing screening tests are usually conducted shortly after birth and may be repeated if the initial attempt is unsuccessful. It’s crucial to recognize that, even if a baby passes the initial screening, ongoing monitoring of their language and communication development is essential, as hearing loss may manifest later. Regular hearing checks during childhood are recommended, particularly in the presence of risk factors, to ensure early detection and timely intervention if needed. 

Newborn hearing screening is offered in both private and public hospitals, as well as health centers throughout the Philippines. Specialized hearing centers, such as Active Hearing Center, extend these services, providing hearing tests and consultations for both children and adults. These dedicated facilities not only conduct screenings but also offer valuable guidance and tools for parents to support children with hearing impairments, ensuring they receive the necessary assistance for overcoming any challenges associated with their condition.

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