Children are often referred for a hearing test after failing a hearing screening at the pediatrician’s office or at school. Other reasons for referral include speech and language delay, a family history of congenital hearing loss, risk factors for hearing loss (e.g., certain medications, genetic disorders, syndromes), recurring middle ear infections, and concerns about academic achievement.
It’s important to schedule your child’s appointment at a time of day when you know they will be able to perform their best. Especially for younger children, it is important to avoid scheduling appointments during their naptime.
Please be prepared to discuss the following topics with the Audiologist: pregnancy and birth history, results of newborn hearing screening, developmental milestones, past and current health status and medication use, familial hearing loss history, and any teacher concerns.
Sometimes we are able to complete all of the age-appropriate tests in one visit, but often times, depending on age and cooperation of your child, additional visits may be required. We try to make this time as fun and pleasant for your child as possible!
- Otoscopy: For children of all ages. A visual examination of the ear canal and ear drum using a lighted device called an otoscope.
- Tympanometry: For children of all ages. A probe is placed in the ear canal to record movement of the ear drum, which is used to identify middle ear dysfunction (e.g., fluid behind the eardrum).
- Visual Reinforcement Audiometry: For children ages 6 months – 2.5 years. You and your child sit in a sound booth between two large speakers. The Audiologist observes your child’s responses to speech and sounds representing different pitches, either presented through the speakers or through headphones if your child will wear them. Your child’s responses are reinforced with lighted toys.
- Conditioned Play Audiometry: For children ages 2.5-6 years. Testing takes place in a sound booth, most often with your child listening to speech and sounds through headphones. Your child will engage in a series of “listening games” while the Audiologist records the levels at which sounds are heard. Your child may be asked to identify pictures in a book or repeat back words at varying intensity levels.
- Conventional Audiometry: For older children and teens. Sounds representing a broad frequency range are presented through headphones. The patient raises their hand upon hearing a sound, and the Audiologist records the softest level at which sounds are heard.
After testing is complete, the Audiologist will be able to describe the status of your child’s hearing. If hearing loss is diagnosed, you will be given full information regarding appropriate steps for follow-up.