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At Clear Choice Hearing and Balance our Audiologists are well trained to help identify hearing loss early so as to avoid any preventable speech delays, particularly those with special needs.

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) in children can cause speech and language delays, impede learning, and disrupt interaction with others. It can often be a symptom in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD/ADD, and Down Syndrome. In addition, the sensitivity to stimulation that often accompanies these diagnoses can make testing extremely difficult in a traditional, often-crowded clinical setting. At Clear Choice Hearing and Balance, we are the only audiology practice in Rochester with an interactive mural specifically designed to keep children calm and relaxed before testing.

doctor checking a baby's hearing


Risk Factors for Congenital Hearing Loss

  • Family history of permanent hearing loss in childhood
  • Maternal infections during pregnancy or delivery (Toxoplasmosis , Syphilis, HIV, Hepatitis B, Rubella , CMV, Herpes simplex, and others)
  • Physical problems of the head, face, ears, or neck (cleft lip/palate, ear pits/tags, atresia, and others)
  • Ototoxic medications given in the neonatal period
  • Syndrome associated with hearing loss (Pendred, Usher, Waardenburg, neurofibromatosis)
  • Admission to a neonatal intensive care unit greater than 5 days
  • Prematurity (< 37 weeks)
  • Hyperbilirubinemia

3-3-6 Rule

  • 3 weeks: A new born should have a hearing screening before leaving the hospital or within the first three weeks of life.
  • 3 months: If the child did not pass the initial hearing screening steps should be taken with the audiologist and pediatrician to make sure any permanent hearing loss is identified by this time.
  • 6 months: Intervention should start as soon as possible if a permanent hearing loss is found. Treatment for hearing loss can be most effective if it’s started before a child is 6 months old.


  • Parent/caregiver concern regarding hearing
  • Delays in speech/language development
  • Recurrent middle ear infections or one episode lasting < 3 months
  • Head trauma associated with loss of consciousness or skull fracture
  • Bacterial meningitis and other infections (mumps, encephalitis, viral labyrinthitis)
  • Exposure to potentially damaging noise levels
  • Ototoxic medications received at any time
doctor checking a baby's hearing


  • The Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) uses a computer to measure the child’s hearing nerve in response to certain sounds. It is performed by applying electrodes to the skin, around the ear. Sounds are made through the child’s ears through insert headphones and the electrodes measure the nerves response to the sounds.
  • An ABR test is safe and does not hurt.
  • This testing should be completed when the child is very quiet. Nap time and feeding times are ideal for testing accuracy.
  • The test will take 1-1.5 hours



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