Diagnosis of Infant Hearing Loss: Practical Overview for the Primary Care Physician


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Course Description

Early and effective intervention for infant hearing loss depends on prompt and accurate diagnostic information. Diagnosis of hearing loss includes, for each ear, a description of the degree (severity) of impairment across the frequency region important for speech perception, and information on the site of auditory dysfunction (e.g., middle ear, inner ear, and/or neural pathways). Diagnostic auditory assessment should be completed within the first months following birth, permitting initial medical and non-medical management by 6 months (the definition of early intervention for hearing loss).

This one-hour lecture provides an introduction to the objective techniques applied in the diagnosis of infant hearing loss, including the auditory brainstem response (ABR), otoacoustic emissions (OAEs), and acoustic immittance (middle ear) measurements. The lecture also reviews the protocol for auditory assessment of children aged 0 to 6 months recommended by the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH), as well as common types of childhood hearing loss.

The course is supplemented by other AIBEF courses that provide more detailed information on identification of (screening for) infant hearing loss, risk factors for delayed onset and progressive hearing loss, ototoxic-induced hearing loss, and differential diagnosis of specific auditory disorders (e.g., auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder).

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the auditory brainstem response (ABR)
  • Describe otoacoustic emissions (OAEs)
  • Describe acoustic immittance (middle ear) measurements

Course Details

Presenter: James W. Hall, III, Ph.D.

James W. Hall III, Ph.D. received a Bachelor's degree in biology from American International College, a Masters degree from Northwestern University and, in 1979, his Ph.D. in audiology from Baylor College of Medicine under the direction of Dr. James Jerger. Since then, he has held clinical and academic audiology positions at major medical centers, including the University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas Medical School-Houston, and Vanderbilt University. [more details]

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