ALGO is the brand name of the machine we use here at LPCH to assess infant hearing. The ALGO machine is manufactured by Natus®. Also known as an Automated Auditory Brainstem Response assessment (or AABR), it is designed as a screening tool for the early identification of infant hearing loss.
Since it is well documented that early intervention for hearing loss results in significantly improved outcomes for children with regard to speech and language development (especially if treatment is started by age 3 months), assessing hearing in newborns is standard practice at LPCH.
The screening process itself is painless and takes only about 5 minutes. The test is ideally performed when the infant is asleep as motion artifact can affect the ability of the machine to detect a response.
To start, 3 sensors with self-adhesive tabs are placed on the infant: one on the upper forehead, one on the nape of the neck, and one on the back of the shoulder. Then soft plastic earphones are placed over the infant's ears.
The screening is started by selecting the appropriate setting on the laptop control panel. During the screening, soft clicks are transmitted through the earphones, one ear at a time. The sensors placed on the baby's skin then detect brainwave response to the clicks. If the detected response matches the anticipated response within the variance allowed by the machine, the ear receives a "PASS". If not, the ear receives a "REFER".