1. How do you test hearing in children?
a. Newborns and Infants
i. ABR-Auditory Brainstem Response Evaluation
1. Painless sticker-like electrodes on the forehead and behind the ear or earlobe areas.
2. Earphones in the ear canals
3. Various sounds are presented into the ears while the child is sleeping or lightly sedated
4. We measure the response of their hearing/auditory system by looking at waveforms that look like hills and valleys
5. By evaluating various values, we are generally able to determine type and degree of hearing loss
ii. OAEs-Otoacoustic Emissions
1. A sound is presented into the child’s ear with a comfortable ear tip
2. If their hearing system is normal to near normal, an echo is picked up from their inner ear, which is called an emission
3. This information is used in conjunction with the other tests performed
1. A slight amount of varying pressure is presented into the child’s ear
2. This test helps to determine if the child’s ear canal is open and their eardrum and the bones of the ear are working properly.
3. It primarily helps to screen for middle ear fluid
b. Children who are six months to 2 ½ to 3 years of age
i. Some of the aforementioned tests may be used
ii. Body part identification
1. Child is asked to point to familiar body parts on themselves, their parent, or Mr. Potato Head
iii. Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA)
1. Various signals (speech or tones) are presented through speakers located to the child’s left and right side.
2. When the child responds to the signal, they are reinforced with a light up or animated toy.
c. Children who are 2 ½ to 4 ½ years of age
i. Some of the aforementioned test may be used
ii. Conditioned Play Audiometry (CPA)
1. In a fun atmosphere, the child is conditioned to respond to tones by placing a block in a bucket, a coin in a piggy bank, or another fun activity
iii. Generally speaking children are able to repeat back words as we check for clarity of speech and the ability to understand speech at a soft volume
iv. But if they aren’t, we offer them pictures to point to
d. Children who are 4 years and older
i. Typically, children of this age are able to have their hearing tested like an adult; however, we still apply fun techniques to keep their interest.
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