Healthy Communities

Infant Hearing

Program Information

Three of every one thousand Arkansas newborns will come into this world with significant hearing loss. That's why the ADH Infant Hearing program was developed. We hope this website will provide you with helpful information you need. Please feel free to contact us if we can answer any questions about the infant hearing program.

Arkansas Department of Health
Infant Hearing Program
4815 West Markham, Slot 20
Little Rock, AR 72205-3867
(501) 280-4740 


Healthy Hearing: It Means the World to Your Infant 

Healthy Hearing Brochure:  English |  Spanish

Can You Really Test an Infant's Hearing?image of smiling infant

Yes, and the tests are very reliable. Arkansas is one of 43 states whose legislatures have required that every newborn receive a hearing screening before leaving the birth hospital. There are two widely used screening methods that are highly reliable and painless. One is called Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE), the other is Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR). In both methods, a soft sound is played into the baby's ear through a tiny, specially designed earphone. A machine then measures the baby's response to the sound. In many cases, babies don't even awaken while they are being tested.

The Cost is Minimal, the Results are Priceless

Newborn hearing screening is fast; it takes only minutes to administer. It is a painless process that can be done while your baby is sleeping. Often times family health insurance covers the cost of newborn screening and testing.

Information is Plentiful and Easy to Get

The Infant Hearing Program can provide information about resources for families with infants or toddlers who have been diagnosed with hearing loss. You’ll get information about state and national support organizations, service clubs and financial assistance options. Information is also available detailing terminology, communication choices, how to deal with emotions and information about hearing and hearing loss. Call the Arkansas Department of Health at 501-280-4740 for more information.

Hearing, Speech and Language Milestones

Some of the things most children will do at different ages:

Birth to 3 Months

3 to 6 Months

6 to 9 Months

9 to 12 Months

12 to 18 Months

18 to 24 Months

2 to 3 Years

Sound Beginnings

Early Screening Means Early Detection

Three of every one thousand Arkansas newborns will come into this world with significant hearingimage of baby boy loss. And for most, there are no known signs or risk factors for the condition. That's why the Healthy Hearing program was developed.

Our goals for babies born in Arkansas are:

Because there are few outward signs of hearing loss in newborns, if left untested, infants with hearing loss may not be identified until they are as old as three years. Infants with undiagnosed hearing difficulties are at serious risk of lagging behind in developing the good speech and language skills they will need to succeed in school and in life.

Healthy Hearing Starts Now

If your infant did not pass the hearing screen, a follow-up test before three months of age is critical. If a hearing loss is present, there are many treatment options, when started before six months of age, that can help make sure your infant has a lifetime of healthy hearing.

Your baby's hearing is important. Call the Healthy Hearing program at the Arkansas Department of Health, 501-280-4740 for more information.

A Special Note to Physicians

Follow-Up is Key

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health, the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) endorse universal newborn hearing screening before hospital discharge, diagnostic evaluation by three months of age and initiation of appropriate intervention services by six months of age. When one of your patients receives a negative hearing screening result, we urge you to follow-up with families to ensure they get a diagnostic evaluation and intervention services if needed.


PCP Toolkit

Public Health Accrediation Board
Arkansas Department of Health
© 2017 Arkansas Department of Health. All Rights Reserved.
4815 W. Markham, Little Rock, AR 72205-3867