Hearing sensitivity irregularities can be detected in children as early as a few hours old. Hearing and Balance believes in an intricate and accessible approach to hearing testing on children, with our unique method of diagnostic hearing tests, using ABR (auditory brainstem response), without the need for sedation or anesthetic.
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This entails a hearing screening done in the hospital at birth, as soon as 24 hours after birth. Hearing is tested by measuring the OAE’s (otoacoustic emissions) which are echo responses from the cochlea (inner ear).
It is recommended that every child has a hearing screening test at birth. If hearing screening was not offered when your child was born, then it is strongly recommended that you visit an audiologist to have a diagnostic or screening OAE. No age is too young!
At this age your child should start producing one-word utterances, and following simple instructions. Hearing should be retested at this age, as your child is now able to give more behavioural responses to sound.
The diagnostic OAE test will be repeated at this stage, while your child sits quietly, to give the audiologist more information. Middle ear pressure can also be measured using tympanometry, to monitor for middle ear infection.
Visual reinforcement audiometry (VRA) can also be used at this age. A localising head turn response to sounds produced via speakers in a sound proof booth, is reinforced by flashing toys.
As your child enters preschool and starts learning more complex forms of language, they should now be stringing short sentences together. They should be largely intelligible to both family members and strangers.
By this age your child can start responding more accurately to behavioural hearing tests. Visual reinforcement audiometry (VRA) combined with play audiometry is generally used at this age to test your child’s hearing.
By five years of age your child can attend for longer and give behavioural responses that are more accurate.
A full diagnostic hearing test is normally carried out. Results tend to be more specific to the pitch and intensities of your child’s hearing thresholds.
It is important that your child’s hearing is retested at this stage, before they start school to ensure that normal hearing allows your child the optimum learning capacity.
Behavioural assessments are conducted to determine hearing acuity and the need for medical intervention and/or hearing aids.