Hearing tests are a crucial part of children’s health evaluation. Hearing is a very important function that is related to the psychological development of a child in a very intricate manner.
Children with hearing disabilities or abnormalities may develop certain psychological problems; however, this is not always the case.
This article sheds light on everything that you should know about hearing tests and evaluations for kids. Let’s begin!
Children’s hearing tests should be conducted right after birth and should be a part of their pediatric evaluation from nine months until four years. If problems persist, the evaluation should continue.
In early infancy, children’s hearing abilities are assessed by audiologists who use visual reinforcement techniques or play-based techniques because children cannot understand language at this point.
When they get older, the audiologists start using more advanced techniques and equipment.
Common Misunderstandings Regarding Children’s Hearing Abilities
- It is commonly misunderstood that children with hearing problems are psychologically underdeveloped. If a child is deaf, he or she can still live a healthy life and communicate with others through other means.
- People often assume that if children are having fun with toys that they are normal. In many cases, children are having fun with sound toys and yet have major hearing problems.
Hearing Tests for Infants
There are two major types of tests that are used to assess infants’ hearing abilities.
- Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions (EOAE)
In this test, a small plug is inserted into the infant’s ear, which records otoacoustic emissions in the baby’s ear when exposed to external sounds. There is a normal level of these otoacoustic responses. If an infant is deaf, there would be zero otoacoustic responses.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)
This is a neurological test where an electrode is connected to the baby’s head while the baby is sleeping. The electrode measures and records the brain activity of the infant in response to external sounds. This test is typically applied within three months of the baby’s birth.
Hearing Tests for Toddlers
- Play Audiometry
This test involves sound toys that are designed in a way that a toddler can play with them, and it can measure the toddler’s aural responses at the same time. It relies on the level of engagement and interest from the kid’s side.
- Visual Reinforcement Audiometry
In this type of children’s hearing test, hearing is assessed by how accurately a child can point out a source of the sound. The sound sources are often made in the form of toys or flashing lights that can grab the child’s attention.
Children cannot express hearing issues and if you suspect that your child is having hearing problems, go for a children’s hearing test right away. Experts at clinics like Audiologie can tell which hearing tests are best for your child depending on the nature of the suspected hearing problem.