Newborn hearing screening is a component of the newborn screening program mandated by the Commonwealth of Virginia. In the first month of life, all infants are to be screened for congenital hearing loss by a hearing specialist or audiologist.The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) estimates that 2 or 3 out of every thousand children in the US are born deaf or hard of hearing. The purpose of early screening is to ensure that all babies with suspected hearing loss have the opportunity to benefit from early intervention that could support development of language skills. The initial newborn hearing screen is called an otoacoustic emissions (OAE) test and can show whether parts of the ear respond properly to sound. During this test, a sponge earphone is placed into the ear canal. The ear is stimulated with sound, and the "echo" is measured. The echo is found in everyone who hears normally. If there is no echo, it could indicate a hearing loss.This test is routinely performed prior to discharge on babies born in hospital. For babies born out of hospital, parents make an appointment with a local audiologist who will perform this test in the home or at their office. Insurance will cover this test.We recommend the following audiologist for this initial screening:Marian Fredner, MS, CCC-A, certified audiologistYou can also contact the Virginia Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program for more information and a complete list of qualified audiologists.