CHOC Children's
HIGH-RISK NEWBORN :: Birth Defects

Vision and Hearing

Newborn babies arrive equipped with wonderful abilities to see and hear. Although their vision is not as sharp as that of an adult's, newborn babies show responses to the mother's face in the earliest days of life. Babies also have remarkable responses to sounds. They startle with loud noises and often become quiet to the mother's voice.

Sometimes, babies have problems with vision or hearing. These problems may be due to a birth defect, or may be caused by the effects of prematurity.

Because vision and hearing are such vital senses, screening programs for vision and hearing problems are used in the neonatal intensive care units (NICU). Babies who are at risk are tested for loss of vision and hearing so that treatment or therapy can be started right away.

Vision and hearing loss in babies requires clinical care by a physician or other healthcare professional. Listed in the directory below is some additional information regarding vision and hearing, for which we have provided a brief overview.

If you cannot find the information in which you are interested, please visit the High-Risk Newborn Online Resources page in this Web site for an Internet/World Wide Web address that may contain additional information on that topic.


It is important to remember the health information found on this website is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.

© Children's Hospital of Orange County