5 Tips for Preparing a Baby for a Newborn Hearing Screening or ABR Hearing Test
If your baby did not pass the newborn hearing screening you will be scheduled for follow-up testing. The clinic or hospital will give you instructions on how to prepare for the test that can sometimes be anxiety-inducing.
Any sane person knows that you cannot make your baby go to sleep on demand- you are not a magician! Just plan and prep the best you can and you will have the highest likelihood of success.
Pack the night before
- Bring plenty of diapers, bottles, formula/milk, pacifier, swaddles/blankets, changes of clothes, etc.
- You can even bring your sound machine or a special swing especially if it’s a diagnostic ABR appointment and your baby really struggles to fall and stay asleep.
- Pack your ID, the baby’s insurance card, and the name and phone # of the pediatrician or clinic.
- Pack the newborn hearing screening results from the hospital and any notes or discharge papers you have from the hospital especially if it was a complicated birth history.
- Pack a pen and a notebook so you can take notes on the results and follow-up instructions.
Don’t forget yourself
- Make sure you have a water bottle so you can stay hydrated and pack a few snacks or prepare a breakfast for yourself.
- It’s easiest if you can come with just the baby who is being tested. If you have other small children it helps to bring another adult that can watch them.
- Even if you don’t have other children it’s nice to bring another adult for help and support.
- Wear something comfortable and dress in layers. You can even bring a pillow or boppy to make yourself and the baby more comfortable.
- Plan to block out plenty of time before and after the test so you can arrive early and as stress-free as possible.
- Try to plan so you don’t have any responsibilities after the appointment (i.e. picking up siblings, other appointments) for both the newborn hearing screening or the diagnostic ABR test. This can take some of the pressure off.
- If you think your baby will have difficulty falling asleep ask for the earliest appointment of the day.
Arrive with the baby very tired
- Keep the baby up a bit later the night before and wake them up early the day of the appointment. Have another adult in the car keeping the baby awake especially if it’s a long commute.
- Wait until you arrive at the appointment to then feed the baby. This way you arrive with the baby tired and hungry and ready to eat and then fall asleep.
If your baby still won’t fall asleep
- If you do everything perfect your baby still might take a while to fall asleep. That’s OK! Anyone testing babies should know this and be comfortable with this reality.
- Try your best to remain calm. A newborn is physically incapable of staying awake forever.
- If they are still not sleeping they likely need more food, to be burped, or a diaper change and more time.
Once It’s Over
A few more things to remember:
- Get the audiologist’s business card.
- Ask for a copy of the report to either be mailed and/or emailed to you as soon as possible and follow-up if you don’t receive it.
- I recommend taking a photo of all test results and hearting/favoriting them in your phone. You can also email them to yourself and save them in a special folder. This is a great tip if you need help staying organized! It’s also a good idea to take a photo of the Audiologist’s business card.
Be sure to check out my previous post on How Do You Test a Baby’s Hearing? For a detailed explanation of the ABR hearing test. If you have more questions you can always email me or DM me on Instagram (@listenwithlindsay).
Remember: You’ve got this!
If your baby is sick on the day of the test, it s best to reschedule when your baby is better. But don t delay the hearing test any longer than necessary, as your baby s auditory brain development is at stake.