Children’s Centre Thunder Bay is the lead agency for the Ontario Infant Hearing Program in the city and district of Thunder Bay. All services are provided with funding from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.
All newborn babies who live in the city and district of Thunder Bay are eligible to receive:
- A physiological hearing screen, completed by 8 weeks of age, to determine the need for further hearing assessment.
- A risk factor screen (heel prick test) completed by Newborn Screening Ontario, to identify the presence of congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) infection and/or common genetic risk factors for permanent hearing loss.
Why do we screen babies for hearing loss?
2 out of every 1,000 babies have hearing loss at birth, and 2 more will develop hearing loss before the age of 5. These children may hear some sounds but miss others, making it harder to learn speech and language. The Infant Hearing Program identifies infants and children in early childhood with permanent hearing loss and supports them to develop language to the best of their ability by the time they enter school.
How do I get my baby’s hearing screened?
Midwives and birthing hospitals are responsible for sending us a referral for your baby’s hearing screen. We will contact you by phone to book an appointment at a community clinic. If you do not hear from us by two weeks of age, please contact us at 807-343-6364 to confirm that we received a referral for your baby.
The screening must be completed before your baby is 8 weeks of age (or 8 weeks corrected age, if your baby was born early).
If your baby is 8 weeks of age or older, the newborn screen is no longer available. It is important that you monitor your baby’s hearing and communication development. Suggestions for monitoring development are available here. Monitoring Your Child’s Hearing and Communication Development (.PDF)
Additional Infant Hearing Program services include:
- Audiology services for children aged 0-6 identified with permanent hearing loss or who are at risk for developing hearing loss.
- Language development services for children aged 0-6 identified with permanent hearing loss. The Infant Hearing Program provides language development services in either spoken or signed language.
- Family support services for children aged 0-6, to assist families in accessing services and monitoring their child’s development following identification of permanent hearing loss.
For more information, or to make a referral, please contact us at 807-343-6364.
To learn more about the Ontario Infant Hearing Program, please visit the website for the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (external link).
Get a Fact Sheet about your baby’s hearing. Can Your Baby Hear? (.PDF)
To learn more about the risk factor blood spot screen, please visit the website for Newborn Screening Ontario (external link).