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Getting your baby's hearing screening results

You get the results of the hearing screening immediately after the tests. Most babies will pass the tests.

If the screening tests results are not clear, your baby will be offered more tests to find out why. Your baby will be referred to audiology services for a diagnostic assessment.

If your baby passes the hearing screening tests

This means your baby's hearing is satisfactory for speech and language development.

If they have no risk factors linked to hearing loss, they will not need any more tests.

The screener will give you a checklist to take with you. It shows you how to monitor and check that your child is still hearing well as they grow. This is because some types of hearing loss present later in a child's life.

Risk factors

Some children are more likely than others to develop hearing loss as they grow.

If your baby passes the screening tests but has a risk of developing hearing loss later, we will offer to do some more tests when they are about 9 months old.

Your baby may have a higher risk of developing hearing loss if they have:

  • a syndrome associated with hearing loss like Downs, Waardenburg, Treacher-Collins, Goldenhaar, Alport or Ushers
  • a cleft lip or palate
  • an outer ear that has not formed properly
  • an infection they picked up inside the womb or when they were born. For example, cytomegalovirus (CMV)

If your baby does not pass the hearing screening tests

This means the screening tests did not produce a clear result.

Reasons why a baby may not pass their hearing screening:

  • Baby may have fluid or a temporary blockage in the ear after the birth. This is very common and will pass with time.
  • There may have been background noise when the screening test was carried out.
  • Baby may have been unsettled at the time of screening.
  • There may be a permanent hearing loss. 

We will refer your baby to the audiology service for a diagnostic assessment of their hearing. This appointment is usually offered within 4 weeks.

Related topics

​If you're worried about your child's hearing

​Tests for hearing loss in babies and children

Using the HSE audiology service

page last reviewed: 29/07/2019
next review due: 29/07/2022