Hearing loss can directly affect your child’s ability to properly develop their speech and language skills. This is why identifying a deficit early and seeking treatment is so important. In order to put together an individualized plan to treat your child’s hearing loss, their audiologist first needs to determine their type and degree of loss. This is done through a series of hearing tests.
Who Should Get Tested?
All children born in a U.S. hospital undergo a newborn hearing screening. While this is able to identify those born with hearing loss, children can also develop hearing loss later on. As a parent you should keep an eye out for signs that their hearing is normal. Below are common hearing milestones a child should reach within a year:
- Newborn: Jumping or being startled by sudden loud noises
- Three months: Recognizing a parent’s voice
- Six months: Turning their head toward a sound
- Twelve months: Imitating sounds and producing a few words
In addition to making sure they reach their milestones, you should pay attention to other signs they be experiencing hearing loss. Common symptoms include:
- Speaking poorly or not at all
- Being inattentive
- Having difficulties learning
- Turning the TV volume up too high
- Answering questions incorrectly
- Failing to respond to their own name
- Becoming easily frustrated in environments with a lot of background noise
There are a number of tests your child’s audiologist may perform in order to identify their type and degree of hearing loss. The tests they choose depends on your child’s age, development and health.
In this test, an audiologist watches your child as they respond to specific sounds. This includes monitoring their eye movements and head turns. Older children may be asked to move a game piece or raise a hand in response to sound.
Auditory Brainstem Response
This test requires earphones to be placed in the ear canal and small electrodes to be placed behind the ear and on the forehead. A series of clicks are played through the earphones and the electrodes measure their auditory nerve’s response to sounds. The test confirms if your child’s inner ear is working properly.
For those with normal hearing, an echo response, known as otoacoustic emissions, is produced by the hair cells in the inner ear when sound is detected. This test requires a tiny probe to be placed in the ear canal to record any otoacoustic emissions produced by the ear after a series of tones.
This test tells the audiologist if your child’s eardrum is moving as it should. A soft sound is played, and air pressure is introduced to the ear canal. Eardrum movement is recorded on a chart called a tympanogram. If the eardrum does not move, this is an indication that there is a problem in the middle ear, often the result of a buildup of fluid behind the eardrum.
To learn more about hearing tests for kids or to schedule an appointment with an audiologist, contact the experts at Bountiful Hearing Center.