Sleeping Baby Hearing Test App

What is the Sleeping Baby Hearing Test?

  • The Sleeping Baby Hearing Test – Home Hearing Screen (SBHT) is a new iOS app that enables mothers to perform a behavioral hearing screen at home to screen their newborns, ages 2 weeks to 6 months, for possible hearing loss.  The SBHT is an adjunct to Universal Newborn Hearing Screening.
  • The SBHT App V 1.0 has been approved by Apple, is fully “live”, and may be downloaded free to an iPhone, iTouch, iPad, or iPad Mini at the iTunes App Store.
  • The App leverages the power of the smart-phone/mobile device platform:
    •  To function as sound level meter for the test, and
    •  To provide the modality for potential world-wide access

Why is there a need for the SBHT App?

  • Hearing loss is the most common birth defect in the world
  • In the USA, 1-3/1000 newborns have hearing loss
  • In the USA, 2-4/100 newborns who require neonatal intensive care have hearing loss
  • There are many false negative & false positive hearing screening results with newborn hearing screening
  • Many countries around the world do not have any newborn hearing screening
  • More people in the world have cell phones than have toilets
    • The future of electronic communications is the mobile platform
    • 30% of all cell phones are now smart-phones
    • By 2019, it is estimated that there will be 5.6 billion smart-phones in the world (10 times more than in 2013)
    • By 2019, 60% of cell phones will be smart-phones
  • Early identification of hearing loss and early intervention leads to better hearing, speech, language, and learning…and to a better world...

Why is the SBHT a FREE App?

  • It is well known that when hearing loss is diagnosed early, children have a better chance of having successful hearing interventions such as being:
    • fit with appropriate hearing aids to treat moderate to moderately-severe hearing loss
    • implanted with a an osseo-integrated hearing implant for conductive hearing loss and single-sided deafness
    • implanted with a cochlear implant to treat severe-to-profound hearing loss.
  • By making the SBHT a FREE App, home hearing screening is now made available to potentially millions of parents & caregivers of newborns between the ages of 2 weeks and 6 months both in the U.S. and around the world.

How Does the SBHT App Work?

  • The SBHT app has step-by-step instructions. It uses a built-in, self-calibrating, sound level meter that measures voice loudness, in decibels, to help a mother “see” the loudness of her voice while speaking standardized sounds (Ling Sounds) to her lightly sleeping baby. The Ling sounds are included in the app. The mother speaks the Ling Sounds at 60-70 dB.
  • Within the first 5 minutes after falling asleep in a quiet room (background noise should be no louder than 50 dB and can be measured by the app's sound meter), a normally hearing newborn, between the ages of 2 weeks and 6 months, will arouse and move around when the baby’s mother speaks to them at 60–70 decibels. If the baby arouses, he/she probably has normal hearing in at least one ear.
  • A hearing impaired infant will not arouse.  (Note: mothers’ voices have been found to be more reliable indicators for this screening in contrast to other female speakers or male speakers.)
  • If an infant fails to arouse repeatedly, the parents are directed to seek further professional hearing testing for their baby.
  • Newborns either “Pass” the screening or need to be “Referred” for further evaluation by a hearing healthcare professional.  If hearing aids are eventually prescribed, the SBHT may be repeated to help confirm that the hearing aids are providing benefit.

SBHT App Features:

  • Explanation of the SBHT-Home Hearing Screen
  • Step-by-step test/screen instructions
  • Link to SBHT video for instructions
  • Built-in sound level meter and Ling Sounds
  • Database for logging results
  • Instructions concerning “The Next Step” for parents to take based on results
  • Referral to the “ENTLINK” app of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery to help locate a US ENT physician
  • Referral to The Ear Center of Greensboro, P.A.’s website for additional information

Future Features for Version 2.0:

  • Fewer words and more graphics/icons
  • Updated video
  • Translation into multiple languages, especially Spanish
  • Email capability for results and communication with the Foundation
  • Database server capability
  • Versions for Android and Microsoft platforms

In Appreciation

The Foundation is deeply indebted to Andrew Smith of Studio Six Digital for his contribution of the app's sound level meter software and for his help and expertise during app development.


The Face of Newborn Screening – What’s at stake..our children


MacKenzie failed her first newborn hearing screening. A week later, she was retested with mixed results. In another couple of weeks, she passed – marginally. Despite the varied test results, her pediatrician did not test her hearing during well-baby check-ups. Her parents were told she was fine - after all, she passed. When they realized that what they thought was late speech development was actually no speech development, MacKenzie was two and a half. MacKenzie received her first hearing aids at age 3.

Now at age 4, MacKenzie is in a critical game of catch up – one that may never be won...