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Newborn Hearing Screening

Baby during infant hearing screening.

Central South Infant Hearing Program

IHP Logo

The Central South Infant Hearing Program (IHP) serves communities in Brant, Haldimand-Norfolk, Hamilton and Niagara. The regional Infant Hearing Program office is located in Hamilton. The Central South IHP is part of a provincial system of 12 Infant Hearing Programs.

Hearing screening is available for your baby

All newborn babies in Ontario can have their hearing screened, either in the hospital when they are born, or at a community screening clinic. There is no charge for the screening. It is a simple, reliable process that is quick, completely safe and it will not hurt your baby. Your baby will probably sleep through the whole experience. There is no charge for the screening and no Health Card is required.

Haldimand Norfolk community screens are offered in the following locations:


  • Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (Simcoe site)
    (Haldimand-Norfolk Preschool Speech and Language Program)
    12 Gilbertson Drive
    Becky Pow, Community Screener 519-426-6170 ext. 3451
    (Google Map)


  • Norfolk County Langton Administration Building
    22 Albert Street
    Lisa Columbus, Community Screener 519-426-6170 ext. 3233
    (Google Map)


  • Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (Caledonia site)
    282 Argyle Street
    Shauna Barrow, Community Screener 905-318-6623 ext. 3258
    (Google Map)


  • Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (Dunnville site)
    117 Forest Street East
    Shauna Barrow, Community Screener 905-318-6623 ext. 3258
    (Google Map)

If you don’t hear anything within 2 weeks don’t hesitate to contact us.

It is important to know if your baby can hear

The first months and years of a baby’s life are very important for developing language. Undetected hearing loss is one cause of delayed language development. Delayed language development can lead to behavioural and emotional problems, and may later contribute to problems in school.

Every year in Ontario, approximately three in 1,000 babies are born deaf or hard of hearing. Through the Ontario Infant Hearing Program, these babies can be found very early and given the help they need to develop language.

Most deaf and hard of hearing children whose hearing loss is identified early, and who receive the support they need, will have the same chance to develop language skills as hearing children.

There are 2 pieces of equipment used to test a baby’s hearing

DPOAE (Distortion Product Oto-acoustic Emissions)

A small probe is placed in a quiet or sleeping baby’s ear. The probe produces soft sounds, and each ear’s response to these sounds is measured and recorded. The entire screen takes a few minutes and results are available right away.

It is quite common to receive a “refer result” from this first stage screen. There may be debris in the baby’s ear canal, or the conditions might not be ideal if the baby is fussing or moving a lot or the environment is noisy. There is no need for alarm – it just means a follow up screen should be done with slightly different equipment (AABR).

AABR (Automated Auditory Brainstem Response)

A small probe is placed in a quiet or sleeping baby’s ear. The probe produces soft sounds in the baby’s ear. Electrode stickers are placed on the baby’s forehead and behind the ears to monitor the auditory nerves response to the sounds. This does not hurt the baby. The equipment automatically interprets the response, and results of the screen are available right away.

Even though most babies pass the hearing screening, some babies will have a “refer result” after this second stage screen.  Again, it does not necessarily mean the baby can’t hear. This means the baby will need a hearing assessment. The hearing assessment is performed by an audiologist who is an expert in testing babies’ hearing. Your regional Infant Hearing Program will arrange an appointment for you.

Most babies who receive a refer result have normal hearing. Debris in the ear canal, or fidgeting during the screening are the most likely reasons for a “refer result”.

However, if your baby does have a hearing loss, the audiologist will direct you to the services and supports that are available to help you and your child.

Getting Ready for Your Community Clinic Appointment

Screening is best completed when your baby is sleeping. Try to leave your baby in their car seat for testing purposes. If possible, feed your baby just before arriving for the appointment. Do not put any creams, lotions, or oils on your baby’s forehead or behind his/her ears. Make sure to bring extra diapers and a warm blanket, and your baby can feed or have something to soothe them if necessary. You will stay with your baby throughout the test, nothing will hurt the baby, and you will receive the results before you leave. If your baby does not settle for the screening, an additional appointment may be necessary.

For more information, contact the Central South Infant Hearing Program at 1-866-826-4327, Ext. 227 or visit their website.


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