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  • Frederick
  • Columbia


Director: Michelle Bode, Au.D., CCC-A

VP: 240-575-2985
Telephone: 301-360-2045
Fax: 301-360-1403

Location: Kent-McCanner Building


Director: Jennifer Mertes - AuD, CCC-A
Email: jennifer.mertes@msd.edu

VP: 410-696-7441
Telephone: 410-696-3050
Fax: 410-480-4596

Location: Steiner Building

Diagnostic Audiology Center

The Diagnostic Audiology Center at MSD

How is my baby tested?

Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD) offers two types of assessments for conducting your baby’s hearing screening.  These tests are called ABR and OAE. Both of these tests are safe and comfortable for your baby.  

An OAE screening will be conducted at the start of your appointment. These OAE results are a quick way to determine if a diagnostic ABR is needed to further determine hearing status.

ABR and OAE assessments work best when your baby is sleeping.  While some diagnostic facilities perform these assessments with your child under sedation, MSD does not.  Therefore, testing is recommended to be completed prior to six months of age. Older infants can be assessed; however, complete results cannot be guaranteed.

Why does my baby need a hearing screening?

In the U.S., more than 12,000 babies are born with hearing levels outside of the normal range every year. Thousands more develop hearing loss during childhood.

Maryland is committed to ensuring that all infants and children have early access to hearing screenings in order to determine hearing status.  The goal is to have a hearing screening, determination of hearing status, and services in place by six months of age.  

Most newborns with hearing levels outside of the normal range show no signs or symptoms of having a hearing  loss. That is why it is important to have formal screening and diagnostic services completed by an audiologist.

If an infant’s hearing levels do not provide complete access to speech sounds,  their ability to learn through listening and speaking will be impacted.

Research has shown that children who receive early intervention services by six months of age will perform significantly better in language development  than an infant who starts receiving services after six months of age. 

Types of Assessments

Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE):

An OAE measures the acoustic response that is produced by the cochlea (inner ear). A small soft rubber tip is placed in the entrance of your baby’s ear canal. The probe tip transmits sounds to the ear and measures responses via a tiny microphone.  

Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR):

An ABR assessment uses a special computer and software to measure how the hearing nerve responds to different sounds. To perform the ABR, adhesive electrodes are gently placed on your baby’s forehead and earlobes. Miniature earphones are placed in both ears. Sounds are presented through the earphones at a variety of pitches and degrees of loudness. 

Locating a Pediatric Audiologist

An online database of pediatric test facilities is available through the national Early Hearing Detection & Intervention (EHDI) website.  Further information is also available in regards to hearing evaluations.


Audiologists at MSD

At MSD, qualified and experienced professionals help families and children from birth to age 21 every day.  Audiologists at MSD are able to communicate using spoken English and American Sign Language. If your child was referred for further testing following their newborn hearing screening, MSD is an option of where to receive your audiological follow-up. ABR and OAE services are free to babies that reside in the State of Maryland. Contact the Maryland School for the Deaf Diagnostic Audiology Center for an appointment with one of our audiologists.  

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Free newborn hearing screening follow-up appointments are available at both the Frederick and Columbia Campuses. Please choose the campus location that best fits your needs.  


Frederick Campus

101 Clarke Place

Frederick, MD 21701  

Department of Related Services

VP: 240-575-3806

Telephone: 301-360-2030


Columbia Campus

8169 Old Montgomery Road

Ellicott City, MD 21043

Department of Related Services

VP: 410-696-7441

Telephone: 410-696-3027

Directions and campus maps can be found on our website, www.msd.edu.  Both campuses are conveniently located off major highways and parking is FREE.