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Ontario Infant Hearing Program (IHP)

The Ontario Infant Hearing Program (IHP) is a province-wide program of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. The first months and years of a baby’s life are critical for developing language. Every year in Ontario, nearly four in 1,000 babies are born deaf or hard of hearing. More lose their hearing later as they grow. Many of these children may need to learn speech and language differently, so it’s important to detect hearing loss as early as possible. Untreated hearing loss can lead to behavioural and emotional problems and, later on, to problems in school. There are many services available to help children with hearing loss. Finding out early means that they can get the help they need right away; this gives them the same chance to develop language skills as hearing children.

Infant hearing screening in Waterloo Region takes place at KidsAbility prior to 8 weeks of age. If you are looking to have your child screened, please contact KidsAbility. If you have missed the window to have your child’s hearing screened through IHP, please contact our clinic about private screening or assessment.

If your child fails their infant hearing screening or if there are medical concerns that may have an association with hearing loss, they will be referred to us for full diagnostic testing. Many children who refer for full diagnostic testing still end up having normal hearing, but in the case that a hearing loss is present it is important that we identify it quickly to be able to support the best hearing outcomes.

Infant hearing mould
Infant hearing program assessment

How to Prepare

Your child has a hearing assessment booked because of a “refer” result from the hearing screening. When a baby is under the age of 6 months of age, the ABR test is the best test for identifying how loud sounds have to be for that baby to hear them. And guess what….it works best while your baby is asleep. Learn with this short video how to prepare for this important assessment.

How Do We Help Your Child?

The newborn hearing screening only shows that a hearing problem might be present. In order to diagnose the sounds your baby can hear or may have difficulty hearing, more information is needed. The follow-up testing is done by an Infant Hearing Program (IHP) authorized audiologist. We are the only authorized IHP provider in the Kitchener-Waterloo Region. Our clinic was specifically selected for this program and we are trained and equipped with special technology and equipment for testing babies ages 0-6 months.

Infant hearing program assessment
Infant hearing program assessment
Infant hearing program assessment

How to prepare your infant for a hearing test.

Preparing your child for what to expect can help to make the experience more pleasant for everyone. If the child is prepared, the examiner will likely be able to get more reliable results in a shorter time and avoid having to bring your child back for repeat testing.


The audiologist will test your baby’s hearing in a very quiet room while the baby is sleeping. The test is completely safe.


Electrodes (small cloth-like patches leading to computer connections) are placed on the baby. Soft tips are placed inside your baby’s ears.


Sounds at different loudness levels will be played in to your baby’s ears.


Audiologist use specialized software to measure the hearing nerve’s response to the sounds.


This information is used by the audiologist to identify babies who have a hearing loss, and to assess the amount of hearing loss your child may have.


The audiologist goes over the results and treatment options.


What happens when a baby doesn’t pass their initial hearing test? What are the next steps?

Watch Alison explain.

Alison Burton
Play Video
College of Audilogists and Speech Language Pathologists of Ontario
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Western University National Centre for Audiology logo
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Book Your Hearing Health Check Appointment

Book your appointment online, by calling 1-833-669-4425 for more appointment options and availability or by texting 226-220-7982

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