Hearing Tests For Children

Submitted by Medical Health Test Team on October 17, 2012

If you are concerned about your child's hearing, then a hearing test is a good idea. A hearing test can help determine if your child has a hearing problem and whether it is due to some underlying cause. Based on the results of these tests, doctors can decide a course of treatment that is suitable for your child. Hearing tests are performed on babies as well as small children. This is because hearing plays an important role in your child's emotional, social, and cognitive development. Even if your child has a slight hearing loss, it can affect his or her language, comprehension, and speaking skills.

Your child's hearing test is generally performed at a hospital or a clinic by a highly trained and well experienced professional. Your child will not feel any pain during the test and in some cases the child may also fall asleep during the procedure. The test is known as an Automated Otoacoustic Emissions test. For this test the doctor places an ear piece into the ear of your baby. This device, in turn, connects to a computer which has sound detecting sensors. A series of sounds are emitted by the ear piece from the cochlea. The sensors pick up these reverberations. Your computer interprets these reverberations, which are displayed in the form of graphics. The results will indicate if your baby's cochlea is healthy or not.

If the test is not clear, then the doctors may perform a second test called the Automated Auditory Brainstem Response Test. Do not panic if your baby needs to go in for another test and assume that he or she has a hearing problem. The first test may not be clear because the fluids and mucous present in the ears have not cleared. Wait for a few weeks for these fluids to drain and go in for another test.

Once your child starts primary school, he/she will have to undergo another hearing test called the School Entry Hearing Screen. Your child is asked to wear headphones so that he/she can hear various sounds which vary in volume and pitch. Your child is asked to push a button when he/she hears a sound. This will help the tester figure the level of hearing.

Some other tests that are good for children and/or babies are the Auditory brainstem response and the Visual response audiometry. Both these tests are dependent on air transmission, wherein sound waves are passed to the cochlea through the middle ear.

In addition to the tests mentioned above, there are a range of different tests that are available for your child. They are administered depending on how much your child can hear. Any treatment, if necessary, will depend on the results of these tests.

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