How Is Hearing Screening Conducted For Young Children?

hearing screening

There are a varied number of ways that a healthcare provider will use to determine how good your child’s hearing is. These tests largely depend on the age of the child. At a particular age though, the participation of the child in understanding the procedure at hand will guide the pediatrician in choosing the behavioral test that he/she will use. Medicinal tests as well can be used to check on various ear parts that have anomalies. These in effect help the doctor prescribe the correct correctional procedure.

Hearing screening for newborns

For every newborn in the United States, a hearing screening is done prior to leaving the hospital. If the newborn does not pass in the screening test, further diagnostics are carried out to determine the cause and degree of damage on the baby’s ear(s).  Some of the tests done include:

  • Auditory brainstem response – The hearing test here measures the kind of response the child’s hearing nerve has to some sounds played on an earphone. The response is seen on the baby’s skin and the sticker electrodes placed strategically on the skin pick this response. The procedure is painless and usually done when the baby is asleep.
  • Otoacoustic emissions – This test also involves placing special earphones in the baby’s ear. A healthy inner ear quickly responds to the sounds played through optoacoustic emissions. They are recorded through a tiny microphone in the earphone and examined. It is also harmless.
  • Tympanometry – This test does not measure the degree of hearing for the child, but detects any changes in pressure in a child’s middle ear. It will also detect any fluids around the eardrum or a hole in the eardrum all of whcich can affect a child’s hearing.

Screening for infants and toddlers

Apart from the above tests, a toddler can also be introduced to visual reinforcement audiometry. In the screening, the child will be required to respond by looking at a small footage or a toy, after being exposed to a certain sound. Once a child is able to sit independently, he/she can undergo this test. It is recommended for children aged 6 months to 30 months.

Screening for preschoolers

Apart from the tests listed above, you can as well administer conditioned play audiometry screening for a child at this age. Here, the child is compelled to respond to sounds though playing simple games, which may include building a tower or throwing a ball. At this level, the child’s cooperation is required. Any child between 2 and a half and 4 years can undergo this kind of screening.

Screening for the school-going kids

The hearing test done for a school-going child has some similarities with the test done on adults. It is called conventional audiometry. However, the tests mentioned above can as well be done on a school going child, depending on his/her response to the procedures. Just like the above tests, the person is asked to respond to a command given through earphones he is wearing (e.g. raise your hand if you hear a beep).children who are 4 years and above can be taken through this test.