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10th September 2014

Baby hearing for the first time brings internet to tears

By now you may have heard of Lachlan. He’s about eight weeks old and at the start of this video, he has all the hallmarks of your average feisty newborn. Only, he’s not so average – he was diagnosed at birth with moderate to severe hearing loss in both ears.

For the past eight days, Lachlan has been melting  the hearts of YouTube viewers round the globe. They just can’t get enough of the first subtle yet powerful change in his facial expression and immense smile that came seconds after being fitted with his first hearing aids. Take 90 seconds to have a look, if you haven’t yet:

How are newborns tested for hearing loss?

Newborn hearing tests are usually done within the first two weeks of birth and often before the baby even leaves the hospital. Country health systems and hospitals differ of course, but generally there are two types of newborn hearing screening tests available.

One, the OAE (otoacoustic emission) places a mini earphone and microphone in the baby’s ear. Sounds are played and if the baby hears them it echoes back giving a sound measured by the microphone.

Second is the ABR (auditory brainstem response) which places electrodes on the baby’s head which measure if the hearing nerves respond to sound.

Despite being filmed in 2012, Lachlan’s parents shared it for the first time during Hearing Awareness Week to bring the the public’s attention to the importance of early diagnosis. They never thought it would get over 150,000 likes and more than 130,000 shares on Facebook alone–not to mention the more than 7 million views on YouTube. “it was so emotional…now that it’s gone viral I’m reliving that moment all over again” Lachlan’s mother said.

Two years on and a lot has changed for Lachlan, “He is the biggest chatterbox out there”, according to his mum in the Daily Mail Australia, “He’s only two so there’s a lot is gibberish that you can’t understand, but when he’s telling you something, he makes sure you understand.”

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