Pediatrics |

A hearing test can be performed at any age, even at birth. Hearing is typically screened in the hospital at birth for the purpose of identifying hearing loss in the pediatric population as early as possible. In order for a child to develop speech and language normally, they must be able to hear the speech around them and learn from imitating what they hear. Hearing is a vital part of a child’s speech, language, and social development.

How is a child’s hearing tested?

ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response)- this test can be used as a screening test to determine presence or absence of hearing loss and also as a diagnostic test to determine type (kind) and degree (amount) of hearing loss present. During the test, four electrodes are placed on the child’s head and ears. Sounds are then presented to the child’s ears via earphones while the child sleeps. The audiologist measures the ear and brainstem’s response to the sounds using computer analysis.

OAE (Otoacoustic Emissions) – This is a simple and quick hearing screening method. During this test, the child is required to be very still but does not have to be asleep. A small microphone is placed in the ear and a low level sound is delivered to the ear. If the inner ear or cochlea is healthy and there is no blockage in the ear from wax, fluid, or middle ear problems, an “echo” is produced which is then measured in the ear canal. This echo is recorded by a computer and tells us that the pathway to the inner ear is clear and that the inner ear or cochlea is healthy.

Behavioral Audiometry- When a child reaches 6 months developmental age, we are able to test how they behaviorally respond to sound. This is not done in the conventional methods as used in adult audiometric testing. With children, the audiologist uses toys to keep the child focused or listening game-like activities to elicit responses. Test method is determined by the child’s age and attention span.

Our audiologists at Cornerstone Ear, Nose and Throat are highly skilled in testing the pediatric population. They have years of experience in fitting hearing aids to patients of all ages.

There are many resources for families and parents of children with hearing loss. You will find the following websites especially helpful.

Informational Pediatric Hearing Loss websites:

www.communicatewithyourchild.org

www.babyhearing.org

www.ncbegin.org

www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing

www.raisingdeafkids.org

Family support websites:

www.ncagbell.org

www.nchitchup.com

www.deafchildren.org

www.handsandvoices.org

Websites to help you get services and funding for hearing aids:

www.ncnewbornhearing.org

www.ncei.org/ei/itp.html

http://dsdhh.dhhs.state.nc.us

www.med.unc.edu/earandhearign/pedsprogs/cccdpgrant