There are two types of hearing tests performed on newborn babies: ATEOAE (Automated Transient-Evoked OtoAcoustic Emissions) and AABR (Automated Auditory Brainstem Response)

Babies can already hear in the womb and are exposed to the sounds around them as soon as they are born. Of course normal hearing is essential to normal speech and language development.
A small percentage of babies suffer from hearing disorders and it is very important to identify these problems as early as possible, so we can begin treatment and rehabilitation. That is why here at Shaare Zedek we conduct hearing screening tests for every newborn, and we do it while mother and baby are still in hospital.
The ATEOAE test is a test in which the baby hears various sounds at low volume through a small earpiece. A mini microphone in the earpiece absorbs the echo from the inner ear, which reacts to the sounds. If the newborn ‘fails’ the initial test before mother and baby are discharged, the test is performed again the next day.
If the results are the same, we conduct the second test, the AABR, which involves placing electrodes on the baby’s head. These record the hearing nerve’s reactions to acoustic stimulations transferred to the ear via a small earpiece.
This test can only check 2-3 fixed levels of sound (no less than 30 decibels), and the result is either ‘pass’ or ‘fail.’ It is automatically given to babies at known risk of hearing deficiency.
If the baby ‘fails’ this test, we will invite him or her (with the parents of course) to a complete evaluative ABR test, which checks more sound levels and can more precisely determine the child’s hearing abilities.

Some babies do not pass the first test due to fluids in the ear, wax or simply because they are not calm for some reason. However, upon a second test, most are found to have normal hearing.
Please note that these are purely screening tests. They are not able to identify all the different types and levels of hearing disorders. It is therefore advisable to monitor your child’s development in these areas.