What Tests to Expect at Your Child’s Hearing Aid Evaluation

When it comes to the hearing health of your child, a comprehensive evaluation is essential to determine if a hearing aid is necessary. This evaluation involves a series of tests that examine various aspects of their hearing abilities. This post explores the different tests included in a hearing aid evaluation for a child.

Pure-tone Air and Bone Conduction Testing:

One of the initial tests performed in a hearing aid evaluation is pure-tone testing. This test measures a child's ability to hear different pitches and volumes of sound through headphones or inserts. By presenting a series of beeps at varying frequencies and intensities, the audiologist can determine the softest sounds your child can hear across the full range of speech frequencies. Bone conduction testing, on the other hand, evaluates the child's ability to hear sounds transmitted through vibrations on the bone behind the ear.

Speech Testing:

Speech testing is a crucial part of a comprehensive hearing aid evaluation. It assesses a child's ability to understand and repeat words at different volumes. This test helps determine the child's speech perception abilities and assists in prescribing appropriate hearing aid settings.

ABR and ASSR Testing:

ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response) and ASSR (Auditory Steady-State Response) testing provide objective measurements of a child's hearing by evaluating their brain's response to sound. ABR testing gauges the auditory nerve and brainstem electrical activity in response to sounds delivered via earphones or inserts. This helps identify any potential hearing disorders. Similarly, ASSR testing measures brain responses to sound and is particularly useful for assessing frequency-specific hearing thresholds.

Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Screening:

OAE screening measures the sounds produced by the inner ear in response to stimuli. This test is useful for assessing the health of the child's cochlea and can indicate any signs of hearing loss or damage.

Visual Reinforcement and Conditioned Play Audiometry:

Visual reinforcement audiometry (VRA) and conditioned play audiometry (CPA) are specialized tests designed for infants and young children who may have difficulty responding to traditional hearing tests. VRA involves pairing sounds with visual stimuli, such as animated toys or flashing lights, to assess their hearing abilities. CPA, on the other hand, makes the hearing test into a playful activity involving games and rewards to engage the child and accurately measure their hearing thresholds.

Other Additional Tests:

In some cases, additional tests may be included in the hearing aid evaluation, depending on the child's specific needs. These tests may involve speech-in-noise testing, middle ear analysis, or counseling to assess the child's communication abilities and address any psychosocial aspects related to hearing loss.

A comprehensive hearing aid evaluation for a child includes various tests to assess their hearing abilities accurately. These tests provide important information to determine if a hearing aid is necessary and to prescribe the most appropriate device.