Pediatric Hearing Evaluations for Children and Adolescents
Signs of Hearing Problems in Children
The single most important sign of hearing loss in children is the failure to develop, or the delayed development of, spoken language.
If children have severe or profound hearing loss, it is usually obvious that they do not respond to sound. Sometimes it is difficult to detect mild forms of hearing loss, including hearing loss in only one ear. Even the more common forms of mild hearing loss, however, can negatively impact communication development and school performance.
Common clues for hearing loss in children include:
- Family member or teacher concern regarding:
- Hearing ability
- Delays or differences in speech and language development
- Attention or behavioral difficulties
- Academic performance
- Inappropriate, delayed, or lack of response to soft and moderate-level sounds: speech or environmental when distractions are minimal
- Use of "what?" or "huh?" frequently
- Intently watching the faces of speakers
- Difficulty understanding speech in background noise
- Sitting close to the TV set when the volume is adequate for others; increasing the TV or stereo/tape/CD player volume to unreasonably loud levels
- Not responding to voices over the telephone or switching ears continually when using the phone
- Not startled by intense sounds
- Unable to locate the source of a sound accurately
Listen To Your Buds is a public education campaign that is aimed at preventing
noise-induced hearing loss by helping parents teach their children how
to use personal audio technology safely. Learn more »
Age Appropriate Evaluations Available for Children
Your child’s quality of life and development depend on good hearing. Several of the Audiologists at the Allegiance Hearing Center specialize in pediatrics and use a variety of test methods to evaluate the hearing of children of any age, including infants.
Please note: a parent or legal guardian must be present for a child’s appointments at the Allegiance Hearing Center.
If your baby is born at Allegiance Health, his or her hearing will be screened using a non-invasive, painless test called Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR). This painless, non-invasive test consists of placing sensors on the baby’s forehead and behind the ears. While your baby sleeps, we place a small earphone in the ear. The ear phone plays soft sounds and the sensors pick up the response to that sound. The test takes approximately 15-30 minutes. If your infant does not pass the initial test, he or she may be screened again during the hospital stay. Or you may be referred to the Allegiance Hearing Center for an outpatient visit when the infant is a few weeks old.
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) testing is another non-invasive, painless test method that provides further information about your infant’s hearing. If your child does not pass the hearing test at birth, he or she will be referred for ABR testing. During this test, we will place four small sensors on your child’s head to detect how the hearing system is responding to sound being presented through earphones. This test takes approximately 2 – 3 hours and provides an estimate of hearing sensitivity as well as information about the function of the auditory pathway up to the level of the brainstem.
Toddlers (1 – 2 years)
For this age group, Allegiance Hearing Center uses a combination of test methods appropriate for the individual child’s abilities, development and attention span. Beginning at approximately six months of age, we may be able to use behavioral hearing tests and animated toys which reinforce your toddler’s responses to test sounds. We may evaluate your child’s middle- or inner-ear function with simple, painless tests called immittance and OAE testing, that require us to place a small probe in your child’s ear. These tests do not require a behavioral response from your child, but they do require the child to remain quiet and still for a brief period of time.
Preschool-aged (3 – 4 years)
By three years of age, children are typically able to participate in behavioral hearing testing, such as Condition Play Audiometry (CPA). As your child hears sound through earphones, he or she responds verbally, through picture-pointing, or through the use of a “game.” The audiologist will then determine hearing sensitivity and a possible type or degree of hearing loss.
School-aged (5 years or older)
By five years of age, your child will most likely be able to participate in a conventional hearing evaluation. During the test, your child will wear earphones and respond to sound by repeating words and raising his or her hand in response to sounds. If a child has difficulty staying on task, or has developmental or behavioral issues, the audiologist will need to utilize a different test method in order to obtain accurate test results for your child.