Fact: Not Exactly!
Some babies with hearing loss can still startle or respond to some sounds, but may not be able to hear all the sounds important for speech. Hearing testing is needed to ensure that babies are hearing all sounds of speech. Clapping and loud noises are not a substitute for a hearing test.
It is important to identify hearing loss early. Each year in the United States, as many as 12,000 babies are born with a hearing loss. The cause of hearing loss for many babies is not known, and hearing loss can go unnoticed for years.
Fortunately, almost all states, communities, and hospitals now offer hearing screening for all babies. The hearing screening is easy and painless, and can identify whether more testing is needed. In fact, babies often are asleep while being screened. It takes very little time—usually only a few minutes.