Audiologists at MU Health Care are using new technology that eliminates the need to sedate a newborn or infant who requires a diagnostic hearing test.
The new Vivosonic IntegrityTM ABR Unit allows audiologists to conduct an auditory brainstem response (ABR) hearing test without sedation. The Vivosonic IntegrityTM ABR Unit is designed to be less sensitive to outside interference. This allows audiologists to measure hearing thresholds in infants - who are free to feed or play quietly while being tested.
"The sedationless test reduces any risks associated with giving anesthesia to a young child," said Christina Sanderson, audiologist at MU Health Care's ENT and Allergy Center of Missouri. "Instead of going to a hospital, the ABR test can now be given in the clinic in the company of a child's parents."
In Missouri, newborn babies are required by law to be screened for hearing loss before leaving the hospital. If the child does not pass the screening twice, the baby is referred to a pediatric audiologist for diagnostic testing. Pediatric audiologists commonly use an ABR test to measure hearing levels in infants. The ABR test involves attaching electrodes to the forehead and ears of the patient. Different clicking sounds and tones are then fed through headphones into the child's ears. Meanwhile, the audiologist reviews a computer screen that shows the patient's brain response to the sounds.
"In an ABR test, we are looking for a pattern of waves on the computer screen that tells us, 'yes' the brain is hearing this sound," said Sanderson.
In order to effectively conduct an ABR test, audiologists must ensure the infant remains quiet throughout the two-to-three hour screening.
Watch the video to see the story of 15-month-old Kenny Stone Jr. of Glasgow who was one of the first patients to experience the new sedationless ABR test at MU Health Care.
For more information about sedationless ABR testing at MU Health Care, please contact the ENT and Audiology Clinic at (573) 882-7903.