A child’s hearing can be accurately evaluated as early as birth. A number of tests can be used to determine the degree and type of hearing loss.
We offer a full range of audiological services for infants and children, including comprehensive hearing evaluations, follow-up and counseling with parents, and fitting of hearing aids.
- Types of Hearing Tests
There are several types of hearing tests for children, depending on their ages.
Otoacoustic Emissions OAE)
A test that measures sounds produced by the inner ear (cochlea). A soft plastic tip is inserted into the baby’s ear and a microphone records the responses (otoacoustic emissions) of the ear in reaction to the sounds. There are no emissions with some types of hearing loss. This test is painless and is usually completed within a few minutes, while the baby sleeps or is sitting still.
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) or (BERA)
A test that uses electrodes attached with adhesive to the baby’s head. While the baby sleeps, clicking sounds are made through tiny earphones in the baby’s ears. The test measures the pathway of sound from the hearing nerve to the brain stem, which allows us to estimate the child’s hearing activity in response to the sounds. This test is painless. ABR testing is used as a screening or an evaluation. If a screening test identifies that your child has a hearing loss, further testing is needed. It is recommended that all babies with hearing loss be identified by 3 months of age so that treatment can begin before the baby is 6 months old, an important time for speech and language development.
Tympanometry (also called impedance or admittance)
A test done to help determine how the middle ear and eardrum are working. It does not tell if the child is hearing or not, but helps find any changes in pressure in the middle ear.
We aim initially to accurately evaluate the hearing levels of the child and identify any difficulties. The degree, extent and nature of any hearing loss is confirmed as quickly as possible and an estimation made of the impact these difficulties are likely to have on the child.