It’s natural to want hearing tests for your baby. Hearing tests may include ear wax removal, eardrum examination, and more.
However, there are more intensive tests performed on young children to determine their hearing condition. These tests are meant to identify any congenital conditions related to hearing loss. The screening is painless and begins at infancy, though there are also tests at further stages in childhood.
If you’re taking your child for professional hearing services, make sure you know what to expect.
Hearing Tests for Infants
There are two tests available for babies younger than six months.
The first is called Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE), which uses small microphones placed in the infant’s ear canal. They play small sounds into the infant’s ear as stimulation and record the response.
The Auditory Brainstem Test (ABR) makes use of headphones and electrodes. These electrodes are not harmful or painful for the infant, and they are placed over the infant’s head. The baby wears the headphones to hear soft sounds while the electrodes measure the hearing nerve to check its response.
During either exam, the clinician will clean your baby’s ears and forehead. Generally, the infant is supposed to be asleep during the test. Because of this, the clinician will likely request that the infant’s parents rock them to sleep or bring them tired.
To keep the environment conducive to sleep, parents will need to keep their volume down. It’s also best to avoid bringing any other children along. Other questions about the baby’s well-being will be asked after the conclusion of the exam, along with a breakdown of the results.
Hearing Tests for Older Babies and Toddlers
For older children, there are more tests available. The most popular variations are Conditioning Play Audiometry (CPA) and Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA). These tests are available for children between the ages of six months to three years.
VRA is arguably the most commonly done test. It involves playing various sounds from a speaker while lighting up a hidden toy in a box or playing a video animation. The clinician watches the child’s behaviour during the test and uses the visual stimuli as a reward for his reactions to the audio.
CPA usually follows a VRA test and uses certain sounds that are meant to get a specific reaction from the child. The child must perform specific tasks in response to their assigned sounds, and the clinician uses this to check their focus and behaviour.
These tests usually take less than an hour to complete. Because of the nature of the tests, your child will not need to be asleep for these. It should be noted that there are other types of tests available that may still be better accomplished with your child asleep. Other ones focus more on speech recognition.
Hearing tests are very important and useful in your child’s early stages of development. It can ensure their healthy growth and give you ample information and treatment for any problems that may arise. Early detection is crucial for any condition and can help parents prepare for long-term management.
If you’re seeking out professional hearing services for your child, Country Hearing Care provides hearing assessments, hearing aid fitting, and maintenance services. Reach out to us for a consultation in one of our clinics across Australia.