Hearing is an essential sense for your child’s speech, language and social development. Identifying hearing loss early is essential to ensure your child develops at a healthy rate alongside their peers. There are a variety of hearing tests available specifically for children. Your child’s age and level of understanding determine which test an audiologist may recommend.
Newborn Hearing Tests
There are two hearing screenings used on newborns: evoked otoacoustic emissions (EOAE) and auditory brainstem response (ABR).
EOAE uses a small flexible plug that is inserted into the baby’s ear. Sound is sent through the plug, and a microphone inside records the otoacoustic emissions in response to the sounds. No emissions are recorded if the baby has hearing loss.
ABR uses electrodes attached with a gentle adhesive to the baby’s scalp. While the baby is sleeping, clicks are played through small earphones. The test measures the baby’s brain activity in response to sound.
Both tests are painless and take just a few minutes.
Infant Hearing Tests
Infants can be tested with EOAE or ABR, in addition to behavioral audiometry.
Behavioral audiometry is a screening where the audiologist observes babies’ behavior in response to certain sounds. The purpose of this test is to screen for whether or not hearing loss is present; a positive result likely requires additional testing.
Toddler Hearing Tests
Toddler assessments can involve any of the tests above in addition to play audiometry and visual reinforcement audiometry (VRA).
Play audiometry uses a machine to send sounds at different volumes and pitches into a child’s ears via earphones. The toddler is asked to respond in some way, such as touching or moving a toy, every time they hear a sound. This test relies on cooperation from a child and may not be suitable for every child or when a child is in a bad mood.
VRA is a test where a child looks toward a sound source. When they give a correct response, they are rewarded with visual reinforcement like a toy or flashing light. This test is best for children between ages six months and two years.
For more information or to schedule a hearing test for your child, call the experts at Decibel Hearing today.