Hearing Tests For Children: How Are They Performed?
Kids begin to learn language and speech from the moment they are born. A baby who hears well will learn a lot about the world through sounds while a baby who cannot hear well may have difficulty developing language skills and learning to talk. Hearing can also affect a child’s social and emotional growth, so it’s essential to recognize the signs of hearing loss as early as possible to avoid or lessen any future concerns.
Why does a child need to have their hearing tested?
Every year, about one in thousand babies are born in Australia with permanent hearing loss, and there are no obvious signs to tell that a baby has hearing loss. According to experts, it is impossible to tell how well a baby can hear by watching his/her response to common sounds. That is why it is important that babies undergo hearing tests for children.
What routine screening a child usually receive?
Hearing tests for children are essential for newborn babies and their families as well because much can be done if a problem with hearing is found early in life. In Australia, babies often have their hearing tested while there are still in the hospital. If your baby did not receive testing, contact your local public health unit.
The hearing test is totally safe and can not hurt a baby. Soft sounds are played in your baby’s ears, while a computer measures the responses. The test is best performed at least 12 hours after birth with the baby asleep.
What to do if you think your child has hearing loss?
Hearing loss is usually difficult to detect. Sometimes a mild hearing loss is mistaken for other concerns and may lead a child to appear withdrawn or distracted. In older kids, parents are generally the first ones to find out if there is a concern.
Hearing loss can develop at any time in childhood, so it is important to understand that although a baby does not have hearing loss at birth, he/she can develop it later. Even if a newborn passes the hearing test in the hospital, the parents should continue to pay attention to their child response to sounds and early attempts to talk. If you have any concern about your child hearing, your should schedule an appointment with an Audiologist.
Hearing test for infants and toddlers
- ABR(auditory brainstem response) – sound are presented to the ears using small earphones. A child has to be asleep to perform this test.
- VRA (visual reinforcement audiometry) – a test that checks the baby’s natural head turn to look for the source of sound. It is mostly recommended for babies over 6 months of age.
- CPA (conditioned play audiometry) – a child is taught to play a game every time he/she hear a sound. This test is mostly used for toddlers over 3 years of age.
Hearing tests for children 4 years of age and older
- PTA (pure tone audiometry) – sounds at different levels are presented through headphones and a child respond to the sounds by raising a hand or pressing a button.
- Speech Audiometry – a test that can be mixed with pure tone audiometry to provide a more complete picture of a child’s hearing. A child will have to either repeat words or point to pictures.