Can My Baby Hear?

Division of Public and Behavioral Health
Bureau of Child, Family, and Community Wellness
Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program

4150 Technology Way, Suite 210
Carson City, NV 89706
hone: (775) 684-4285
Website: Nevada Early Hearing Detection & Intervention (NV EHDI)

If you need help finding an audiologist You can call (775) 688-0328

My Baby Did Not Pass The Screening. Can My Baby Hear?

To find out if your baby can hear, he will need additional testing.

If your baby did not pass the hearing screening, it does not mean your baby definitely has a hearing loss. There are many reasons your baby may not pass the screening. Perhaps your baby was moving or crying during the test, or there may have been birthing fluids or debris in the ear canal. There is also the possibility your baby has a hearing loss.

What do I Need to Know?

Hearing loss is the most frequent birth defect. It occurs in about 3 out of every 1000 babies born in the U.S. each year.

Many babies with hearing loss will startle or turn their heads to loud sounds. This does not mean the baby has normal hearing. Most babies with hearing loss can hear some sounds, but not hear well enough to develop normal speech and language.

The first months and years of a child’s life are very important for developing communication. Children with undetected hearing loss are more likely to have difficulty developing language and may not do well in school. Even a mild hearing loss or hearing loss in only one ear has negative consequences if undetected. Before the advent of newborn hearing screening, research showed that children with hearing loss in one ear were ten times as likely to be held back in school compared to children with normal hearing.

This is why it is important to find out early if your baby has hearing loss. The only way to know for sure if your baby’s hearing is normal is to have his hearing retested with special equipment. If your baby has hearing loss, he will have the best chance for normal language development if he receives treatment by six months of age.

How Can My Baby Get More Hearing Testing?

Many hospitals will follow-up with an outpatient screening 1-3 weeks after discharge. If your baby has not already had an out-patient screening, ask if one can be arranged. If your baby does not pass the out-patient screening, or they are not available at your hospital, talk to your baby’s doctor. The hospital or doctor can refer you to an audiologist, a hearing specialist, for more testing. If you need help finding an audiologist, you can call (775) 688-0382 or online at

The audiologist can perform special diagnostic hearing tests to determine if your baby has a hearing loss. It is important that this testing occur as soon as possible and preferably before your baby is three months old.

If your baby has a hearing loss, the audiologist will be able to tell you the degree of hearing loss and what can be done to help. Some hearing losses are temporary and can be corrected with medical treatment. Others are more serious and will remain throughout your child’s life.

What Happens If My Baby Has Hearing Loss?

The treatment or services depends on the nature and degree of your child’s hearing loss. It is important that treatment begin as soon as possible. Recent research indicates that when children are identified with hearing loss early and receive services by six months old, they can develop language similar to hearing children.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA Part C) ensures that children with hearing loss receive free early intervention programs. Family-centered early intervention is recommended to promote language development and learning. Private pay programs designed for children with hearing loss may also be available in your area. For some children with hearing loss, intervention may include the use of hearing aids, cochlear implants, sign language and/or speech therapy. The audiologist, along with a team of other professionals, will evaluate your child and provide you with information on language and communication options, as well as recommend assistive devices and intervention programs.

Nevada Early Hearing Detection And Intervention (EHDI) Program

The State of Nevada, Division of Public and Behavioral Health provides a statewide program to identify hearing loss in infants and guide families to the appropriate services needed to help develop communication skills.

The Goals Of The Program Are:

  • By 1 month of age: hearing screening
  • By 3 months: diagnostic hearing evaluation
  • By 6 months: Early Intervention - including: medical, audiological, and educational services and parent to parent support.

To learn more about hearing testing, hearing loss, or talk to a parent who has been there, visit these websites:


  • EHDL infant Follow-up Coordinator/Audiologist:
    (775) 688-0382
  • Nevada Hands & Voices parent group:
    (775) 351-1959

This publication was supported by the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health through Grant Number H61MC25010 from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)